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Hornets, heatwaves and Hooters- 10 days in the US

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Ever been in a crowded amusement park in 36° heat with no shade?

Ever been stung by a hornet and had an allergic reaction where your arm swelled to twice its' size so you had to seek medical help in said amusement park?

Ever seen a teenager try to punch a goose?

And that was just our day at Carowinds. But we'll get to that. You see, dear reader, @Slamming Coastercore and I have decided to take it in turns to write this trip report together. Isn't that sweet / gross (you may delete one option there)

So without further ado, here are my 6am ramblings about our first day of the trip. I typed these out on my phone when I couldn't sleep on the plane home, so obviously, you're in for my finest literary work. Brace yourselves! We're diving in to Kings Dominion, or Kingy D as we had started calling it.

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Beforehand this was my least anticipated park on the trip, but what an idiotic misconception that was. I was such a fool. This park is fantastic.

Of all the Cedar Fair parks I've been to, I like the 'Kings' ones the most. Something about the Triple F package (Fountains, Flowers and Flags) when you enter gives a lovely sense of occassion to the place.

We met up with Scott and he instinctively led us on the most direct route to Twisted Timburs. I don't think any of us even had to mention what we wanted to ride first. We all just knew! The RMC comes first, naturally.

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The ride was walk on, but of course Locker Faff must occur in USA parks to slow things down a tad. Lockers were annoyingly small, but cheap and transferrable. Overall faff Rating: 🔒🔒

My first ride on Twisted Timburs was in the front row. Wow! This ride has 3 of the best consecutive airtime hills I've ever experienced. Bold font for bold airtime. Plus the inverting first drop is excellent, really throws you around.

Minor flaw: too many small off axis hills in the second half that give sharp pops of airtime and leave bruises on your thighs. But the 3 large airtime hills at the start are worth the pain in my opinion. We ran round for another go immediately, which is always a good sign.

Intimidator 305 was next and I was genuinely anxious about this ride. I hate Lech and it's grey-out inducing forces. I even hate the stupidly forceful turn on Fenix. Extreme positive Gs are usually anything but a positive for me.

I'm sure you've also heard many stories about people losing consciousness on I305 from the forces. So you can understand my trepidation. (Apparently this is why the coaster has OTSRs, to stop people slumping over if they black out. Yikes!)

Weeks before the trip I decided I needed to get ready for I305. I read up on the Hick Manouvre and breathing / physical techniques jet pilots use to endure postive Gs. Then before we joined the 0 minute queue for I305 - I drank plenty of water, had a sugary snack and did all I could to prepare for...

...one of the best, most indescribable coaster rides of my life. I absolutely LOVED I305.

This coaster is not like anything else. Easily the most intense ride I've ever ridden, but not in a horrible way like Lech. This ride is simply all the forces in the best way possible.

I think the trick with I305 is to prepare and not underestimate it. As soon as I felt my vision going on the first turn, I did the breathing techniques and tensed all of my lower half to keep the blood going to my head. It worked! No grey out for me!

I wish I could describe how I305s intensity is not like any other coasters. But it's really difficult to put into words.

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I don't post about it much on CF but I really struggle with my mental health. Something that draws me to rollercoasters is how the thrill of rides can block out the dark thoughts, if just for a few minutes. They're a very good distraction and offer momentary relief from depression by assaulting the senses with G Forces. I've probably worded this really badly in my sleep deprived state. To clarify, I'm not saying rollercoasters make me happy - when you're depressed nothing makes you happy. But coasters can briefly take you away from your thoughts even when you're trapped in a black cloud - this 'escape route via G Force' is something I am grateful for.

So imagine my relief when the stunning intensity of Intimidator 305 made me leave every single thought behind. I never felt so lost in the moment as I did on this ride. It was genuinely one of the purest experiences of my life. The sheer speed and power of the ride will make you forget everything else in the world for a few minutes. I still can't believe a coaster like this even exists. It's SUCH an adrenaline rush.

So yeah, chalk up another Intamin for the Top 10. (A theme that will continue on this trip!)

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Now we must go from two fantastic rides, to several bad ones. Flight of Fear - sickly, rough, bad layout. Backlot Stunt Coaster - sickly, rough, bad layout. Grizzly - rough, rough, hornets nest next to lift hill. (This was not where THE hornet incident occured though. That happened in the queue for Fury325 at Carowinds. Yep I got stung by a hornet waiting for Fury, the hornet themed ride. The ride even features the tag line "feel the sting"...ffs!)

Anyway, back to Kings Dominion and we've got Racer 75 - another forgettable ACE coaster classic.

Drop Tower gave some fab views of the park from 305 feet up but didn't have the punchiest drop. Still enjoyed it though!

Dominator was very good, easily my favourite floorless coaster. It has a really fun layout. Just look at those happy goon faces!

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One of the best things about visiting parks in the States is the enthusiasm. If people hear you talking about rides in the queue they will join in. If people spot the ride merch you are wearing they will compliment it. We met so many great people at Kings Dominion who were doing similar trips to us - and ended up hanging out with these new enthusiast friends at almost every park!

Anywho, or should I say...anyboo. Boo Blasters on Boo Hill is very cute. I love how isolated the ride is. The creepy facade is nestled away in the trees with a little river running through. You really feel like you are off on a spooky adventure on this ride.

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Keeping with tradition, we rode it three times. I won the first ride, Alex won the second. The final third ride was nailbiting - with our scores matching throughout most of the ride. It was every man for himself in there! I'm pleased to report I managed to zap my way to victory.

After some very tasty BBQ food (garlic shrimp skewers and ribs, hell yes) , we grabbed more re-rides on Twisted Timburs and I305. I305 in the front row as the sun was setting was such a special moment for me. What a ride!

As an amusement park, the standard set by Kings Dominion is very high. I'm genuinely surprised you don't hear more people talking about the great food, the gorgeous fountains and the wonderful atmosphere here.

I wasn't expecting much from this park at all but I left with a huge desire to come back (specifically during Halloween for night rides on I305!) It was a brilliant way to start the trip.

Up next, a good but spiteful day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg...Over to you @Slamming Coastercore!
 
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Amazing TR as always @Serena and what a fab day to look back on 😊 I'll quite happily say that Kingy D has the best 1-2 punch of any park I've visited (sorry Energylandia).

I love that the locker faff scale has made a triumphant return! Speaking of locker faff I did accidentally leave my wallet in one, then once we relocated our locker I couldn't access it again 😥 9 days in the US with no wallet was certainly a challenge!

I'll do my best to have the BGW report up this week! There's plenty of trip to cover and we want to keep the momentum going whilst the memories are still fresh!
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
I'll have to try out that breathing technique next time I ride 305. That first turn has some of my least favorite grey outs on any coaster. It really prevents me from loving the ride, especially since the rest of the layout is so awesome.
 
For a long time I305 was my number 1, glad you enjoyed it. I agree it forces you to be in the moment so any other negative things you're thinking of get shoved away by the intensity of the ride. Not everyone is up for marathoning it but I've spent the best part of the day going round and round on the insane ride in the past. Now I just embrace the grey out when I ride, try and keep your hands in the air through the first turn, have your vision start narrowing in at the edges then get all the blood rushing back to your head as you get the negative g over the airtime hill. The other high speed twists and turns are great and I actually dont mind the trim break over the airtime hill as that gives a brief respite of floater air in an overwhelming ride.

I just wish I could of experienced it before they modified the first turn. I can only imagine what the ride was like in its original form.
 
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