Long time no see, CoasterForce! I'm back with all my selfies, button-downs, crazy girlfriend, and creepy obsession with RMC! I know I'm probably not the most welcome presence after how I posted last time I was here, but I'm a changed man. I realize that my actions were petty, I've evolved out of the disgusting prejudice that made me do what I did, and while I know there are certain people here that aren't too cool with me being around, I'm hoping that the more mature me posting today can earn back some of the respect I lost with that idiotic post last fall. I've messaged a few of my favorite members to apologize and they said they'd love to have me back, so here I am. So let's put that behind us end check out a cool new coaster I was honored to be among the first to ride! I will admit when Kings Island announced Mystic Timbers last July, I wrote it off as a less-than-exciting addition. Yes I liked the theme, yes I liked the mystery of the infamous shed, but for the most part, it seemed like a rather tame GCI akin to Apocalypse next to legendary Beast. I felt like there was no way Mystic Timbers would compete with such a brash, irreverent dash through the woods that goes on forever. But when it started going up in the fall, I started to see the scale of the elements relative to each other and knew GCI could certainly have a winner on their hands. All that aside, I was ecstatic when I managed to raise $100 and be part of the historic fundraising night for Mystic Timbers and be among the first to ride it. But when Kings Island was awesome and invited ACE to Media Day, I was ecstatic! I would get to find out how it rode and #whatsintheshed at 5 am two days before the coaster officially opened! Emily was out right away, having just gotten a new adult job and not wanting to burn her vacation time on a coaster that hardly interested her. Our friend Celia from New Jersey was supposed to fly out and go with me but something sadly came up on her end, leaving her to bicker over parking rules while I found out what was in that damn shed. Luckily Kat, the regional rep for ACE Southern Ohio, lives like ten minutes from me so she offered me a ride down so I wouldn't have to do that drive alone at 3 am when I was barely awake. And my friend Jennifer had invited me to hang out with her and her boyfriend Jacob at the first rider auction so I certainly had company. 4/13/2017 Media Day (3:00 am) The night before I managed to get a bit of sleep in the afternoon and a bunch after Survivor finished before the most annoying alarm I could find on my phone was blaring at me every five minutes, telling me to get my fat arse out of bed and prepare for battle! I threw on my Mystic Timbers T-shirt and headed downstairs. Kat picked me up and we rocked out to her theme park music playlist the whole drive down. Finally, as Republica's "Ready to Go" of Top Thrill Dragster fame blared from her radio, Kings Island came into view! Now featuring a little row of lights next to Diamondback on the skyline! We checked in and got in line, it was time to ride! Hm, I wonder what we're doing here today? And I got the badge to prove it! After a trek through a desolate, sleeping, offseason park with no lights or music to bring its midways to life, an ominous IMAscore soundtrack (think it was a remix of Derren Brown's Ghost Train's score) could be heard down the midway from Diamondback, accompanied by the mechanical clinking of anti-rollback dogs, which eventually went silent to the sound of the most nightmarish lift horn you could imagine. There, in the chilly April morning air (though not nearly as bad as Banshee media day), we waited in line to finally ride this beauty. This area is very well themed in general, but under the blanket of the night sky it really hits you just how ominous and sinister it is. We entered the queue past the smashed truck, faintly crackling out safety warnings from its old radio, and meandered around wooden fences in the woods surrounded by a couple of cattlepen-bearing lumber sheds (not that lumber shed) surrounded only by trees and darkness, illuminated only by a few utilitarian logging lights. That combined with the music woke me right up, there in Mason at 5:30 in the morning I felt so alive as the anticipation surged through me. And with the sound of applause and a revving engine sound effect, Mystic Timbers sent her first train of riders out! And within ten minutes we were on! Kat and I sat down and buckled our individual seatbelts. The very first thing I noticed was that this coaster had much harder seat padding than the other GCIs and that the restraints clearly had a different ratcheting mechanism. One thing I learned was that Mystic Timbers is the only ride at Kings Island with a ratcheting restraint where only one click is required. It has a device that clicks two more teeth into place when the clip bites the first tooth on the actual ratchet. And with that, we were off! Our ride began with a fun little pre-lift section leading into the actual lift, where an announcement was made to turn our truck around. Once we hit the crest, the train slowed down. "Whatever you do," the voice instructed us, "Don't! Go in! The shed!" And with the sound of that creepy lift siren, we were being thrown into your standard but lovely GCI curved drop! From there, we headed into another hill accompanied by a pop of airtime, did a nice little turn over the lift, and looked at the cliff-like drop in front of us. We had to be a good 80 feet off the ground. And we were about to be dropped into a layout that was almost entirely hopping, skipping, and jumping along the forest floor. That, right there, was my "oh crap!" moment for this coaster. The rest of the ride is absolutely ballistic, no other word is appropriate. You just keep charging into airtime hill after airtime hill, turn after turn, there's not a single moment on this coaster where it lets up. It feels like 2014 Thunderhead meets Voyage, and that certainly isn't a bad thing. The airtime pops are a wonderful mix of floater and ejector and the little turns add so much aggression to the ride, it whips you around like you wouldn't believe. This layout certainly extracted a few F-bombs from me the first time around, and at night you can't even see what it's going to do to you next. Finally, the ride executed its grand finale! The best part of the ride is right at the end, where it hops down to the water, attempts to eject you while skimming the surface of the man-made lake, and jerks you to the side as it rises back into a brake run. There you're waiting with the doors of the infamous shed wide open like jaws in front of you. "This is a restricted area," says an announcement, "don't go in the shed. This is-" and then it just cuts out into garbled static as the train enters the shed. You enter the shed, it's beautifully themed, and the train stops. Next you hear 80's music start playing and I refuse to spoil exactly what is in the shed. If you want to know, PM me here, on Facebook, or by smoke signals and I will gladly tell you what it is and my opinion on it. What I will say, however, is that it's a fun little quirk that helps put a bit of fun into the end of your ride that will certainly keep you wanting to reride. But ride this coaster for the insanity that GCI was able to craft with the classic traditional wooden coaster ride system, not for the little bonus fun in the shed. Mystic Timbers ended up landing at #9 in my combined count, #4 in my wooden top ten. This is the second best traditional wooden coaster ever built. Gone are the days of wooden coasters being inferior to steel, it's this coaster right here as well as RMC that made me officially decide that my favorite coaster type in existence is the modern 21st century wooden coaster. If Invadr is half this good, GCI could certainly be starting to rival Gravity Group for best manufacturer of traditional wooden coasters. The reps take a lap! Kat from ACE Southern Ohio and Scott from ACE Northern Ohio venture into the shed together! The sun rises on her maiden voyage! Welcome to the world, Mystic Timbers! The contrast between these two coasters is lovely. Kings Island has a snapchat geofilter for their new ride! Celia got me into finding these in the offseason and I love this one! They also had ride merch out and available! I bought this shirt (which I'm wearing now) plus other things, but it was how they were selling it that intrigued me. This thing was set up on the midway, with four faces of merch and a rack of clothes. I asked if this was just a media day thing, since it was assumed the ride would share a gift shop with Diamondback. The merch employees I spoke with said that the Banshee shop actually doesn't get much business so this is there for the foreseeable future but if it stops being profitable the park can just get rid of it. So it's a permanent thing...for now. Kat did an interview for WHIO! And I did one for Living Dayton! Afterwards we saw some of the speeches given by the amazing people who made the ride happen! They all seemed so proud and excited for their creation, so knowing that something that made me that happy made someone that proud was insanely cool! Here's where things got ugly though: we were told not to post shed spoilers or take POVs (media was told not to specifically and nobody was permitted to set up a front facing camera). I get home and two media outlets I strongly dislike as a whole had posted exactly what was in the shed. (Spoiler: I am aware that you can see Don Helbig's shiny bald head in the bottom right hand corner. Yes, you are correct in assuming that Don Helbig's hair is in the shed.) This thing just ran like crazy all morning! I freaking love this photo of it! Towards the end of the day I met up with Scott Schaffer of Upstop Media fame with some lanyards he wanted to give Emily! After running out to his car to retrieve them (and he showed me the filming equipment he used), we met up with his friend Andrew and Andrew's wife Michelle (yeah I know, that name is usually trouble) for a lap! Banshee Boy has a new favorite toy in his playground! Mystic Timbers is just...WOW!!! The theming, the story, the pacing, everything about this ride is just the total package! The only thing I can find wrong with it is that it isn't RMC, the rest of the ride is just brilliant! I'm so glad ACE got invited to this event, and I'm so thankful Kings Island (more specifically Don Helbig) decided to be nice enough to invite us! You all rock! After this I joined Kat, Scott, and Dave (ACE VP who came all the way from Texas) for lunch in Dave's first Culver's experience! As soon as we walked in to the Culver's a stone's throw from the park and an employee saw my shirt, we were asked the inevitable "#whatsintheshed?" Kat and I kept it a secret! After a wonderful lunch the two of us headed home and Kat dropped me off, leaving me a couple hours to freshen up and sort through my stuff. This is all the stuff we were given free, laid out on my lighthouse bedspread to model! This stuff I purchased. That's my shirt, a hat, a keychain for my collection, and two lanyards for Emily's lanyard collection. After that I grabbed a Mountain Dew, hopped in the Jarrettmobile 2.0, and headed back down to Kings Island for some more fun in the shed! First Rider Auction (4:00 pm) I got there early enough to tailgate the parking gates but once they flew open, we were all in and checking in faster than you can fly over an airtime hop. I talked to my friend Shall from Indiana for a bit before I split to go grab food. Sadly I missed the ceremony part because I, like everyone who also did Media Day that morning, was stuffing their faces in Reds. It took Jennifer and Jacob a bit to get there because Jacob's car was still in the shop and they still had to drive up from Kentucky, so I hung out and patiently waited. Fun fact: This damage from the pole? There's a video showing that they did this by dropping a giant heavy cannon from a crane like a wrecking ball and swinging it into the bumper! I hadn't seen these two all offseason so getting to meet up was awesome! I hung out with them they ate (and Jennifer dissected a Mystic Timbers sugar cookie, idk what that was about) and then we went to ride! On the way, though, Jennifer realized she forgot her glasses strap at home and had to stow her thick bifocals and kept bumping into things. I felt bad for her but she said it wouldn't affect the ride too much. Both of them loved their first ride on it! Jacob agreed it's the best in the park but Jennifer (who's the enthusiast, and very picky about what she'll get on) said it shot to her number one instantly. She was absolutely blown away when we got off and sprinted back around for another lap Emily-style. Later on we met up with two KICers, Josh (who I met at the same event I met Jennifer) and a new one I hadn't met before named Melissa! We met up by the exit and regrouped for one big KICentral lap! So there was an odd number of us and nobody wanted to ride with Melissa so I took one for the team and volunteered to take a lap with her. It would have been really convenient to know that this girl can't brace worth a crap before I agreed to that! She was getting slammed into me the entire ride and almost broke my nose with her skull. And then in the shed? The train stops for the lovely eighties music and Melissa, like two inches away from me, screams "UH OH SPAGHETTI-OH!!!!" as loudly as possible like she was trying to kill the suspense. She's nice, but she has got to be the weirdest enthusiast I've ever met! The night started to die down and the ride was becoming absolutely amazing! Mystic Timbers is just as strong as it was during the morning night rides! She flies so much! I definitely got off my last lap satisfied! After our last ride the three of us headed out to the parking lot. Some of Josh's things were in my car so I waited on him to head on out so I could return them to him. I called Emily while we waited, who instantly almost disowned me for ranking Timbers over her #1 wood, her beloved El Toro. But she was glad to talk to me and got to speak to Jennifer for a bit so that was nice letting the two of them talk. Finally Josh came for his stuff, Jennifer and I exchanged possibly the worst and most awkward hug in the history of hugs possibly ever (now a tradition among us), and headed home to finally crash. About time Kings Island continued their legacy of legendary wooden coasters after their little mistake last time! Mystic Timbers is easily the best coaster in the park, something I was honestly not expecting out of it. There's so much more to this coaster than meets the eye, you have to ride it again and again and again to truly appreciate it. I absolutely love this coaster and what it represents. You don't need to spend millions of dollars on fabricated steel and transport it. When modernized and used to its advantage, the same traditional ride system that has been around since the beginning of the roller coaster can be world class, certainly able to compete with the more versatile steel material. RMC and Gravity Group were pushing me in this direction but as of now, the steel coaster is no longer my favorite type of coaster, the modern wooden coaster is. Topper track, Millennium Flyers, Intamin prefab, and the other innovations that will one day speak for our time on the timeline of the wooden coaster, are now my favorite type of coaster. The modern wooden coaster is the greatest type of coaster being created right now, including the marvel of engineering that is my current number one! Thanks for the read! Glad to be back!