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Hutch's Roller Coaster Road Trip - Final Part: S**t Flags Great Adventure


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Part 4 - Kings Island
(Thursday, July 18th)

I spent a couple nights with my cousins just outside Columbus, which gave me a nice needed break after a couple busy days of traveling and credding. After we parted ways, I decided to pop into Kings Island that evening, for a couple reasons.

Now, I already had plans to visit KI the following Monday with several other CFers, but it seemed unlikely that we’d stay there into the evening. I wanted (read: needed) a night ride on Beast, and with my Platinum Pass, why not?

I only focused on three rides that evening: Mystic Timbers, Diamondback, and Beast. I’m glad I did these because we didn’t get many rides on them the following Monday.

Another reason I did Kings Island at this time was because I was at 199 creds. With Mystic Timbers being the only cred in the park I needed (besides the Great Pumpkin Coaster), I thought it’d be a great choice for 200. And had I not visited Kings Island that evening, my 200th would’ve been a kiddie coaster!

Thanks to three trains ops and superb Cedar Fair staff, the queues were pretty short. I went for the front row on my first ride. I was actually hoping for one of the staff to take a goon picture of me ready to go on my 200th, but the response was “Oh I’d probably get fired for that.” Right.

So my front row ride was pretty good. Lots of airtime on just about every hill, and very smooth and comfortable for a woodie. But I felt like it was missing something… the ride seemed very controlled and I wanted it to let loose a bit more.

Went back around for a back row ride, and oh man what difference that made! So much better for just about everything. It took all my doubts about the front row ride and washed them away. It actually throws you around, in a good way, like a proper woodie should. The laterals were also much more noticeable. The first drop into that low turn probably has the best lateral moments, but the rest of the ride has plenty of quick directional changes. It’s fast, unpredictable, not rough at all, and has a great setting. This is easily the best coaster in the park.

So I can’t talk about Mystic Timbers without mentioning the shed. It’s fine. It is nice to see Cedar Fair put some real effort into theming. I enjoyed it, it looked nice and the effects were well done. I knew it wasn’t anything special going into it, and that’s exactly what it got. If anything, it also conceals the three train stacking.

Anyway, happy goon with a nice 200:

Diamondback was up next. I rode it a few times when I was here a few years ago, and I loved it. I did notice a little rattle back then but the airtime was so good that it wasn’t a huge issue. Luckily the queue wasn’t too long so I got a couple rides in.

I rode once in the back and once toward the front. The rattle has definitely gotten a bit worse, but it’s no deal breaker. It’s much more noticeable in the first half, which is a shame as it’s almost a distraction from the airtime. Finishing off a few seconds of lovely floater with some shuffles at the bottom isn’t the best.

There’s also a trim on one of the hills. It’s not the worst, but definitely a distraction. I shouldn’t be thinking “Why is that there?” while I’m floating over the camelback. The smaller hills on the way back are fun enough as well, but nothing outstanding. And I do really like the splashdown, both from a visual standpoint and the humor if you’re in the backseat… it may have sprayed me a bit.

I seem to be pretty negative here but that’s mainly down to comparing it to my rides three years ago and other hypers I’ve done. Honestly an okay B&M hyper is still a great ride. Despite a couple of drawbacks, it still has great floater airtime, and that’s really what they’re all about aren’t they?

Diamondback was previously in my Top 20 and while it was dropped around ten spots, I still really enjoy it… although not as much as this guy:

I decided to do some more rides on Mystic Timbers, sticking to the back. It kept getting better and better. On my last ride I wound up riding with a couple of goons from Germany! We were about to board the next train and we all did a double take after seeing our coaster T-shirts. I ended up hanging with them for the next hour discussing coasters and even CoasterForce, which they followed on social media. Turns out the two of them were on the tail end of a big US road trip; think they did a big loop up the east coast and around to the midwest. Cool stuff!

The German goons had the same idea as I did with the Beast nightride. But first, lemme share some of my thoughts on Beast from my previous visit…

So I actually quite enjoyed the ride during the day, but my night ride was just incredible. I loved speeding through the woods in total darkness. It may not have airtime but I didn’t care, it was just so fun. Then the incline double helix at the end was just out of control. I had it ranked in my Top 3 which I know is blasphemy for most people, but that night ride was so good it felt wrong to rank it any lower.

So obviously I needed another night ride.

I was in pretty good queue position during the fireworks, just outside the station. You get a lovely view of Diamondback from the queue.

I had a similar shot a few years ago:

I got in line at around 9:45 and didn’t board the train until 10:30, but luckily my conversation with the goons really helped pass the time. I went for front row, somehow getting the last train of the night by chance.

Goons getting ready to ride… they even got their sunglasses to enhance the darkness.

The ride was fantastic, but I knew immediately that it wasn’t as special as I remember. And I’m fine with that. The ride does get better as it keeps going, but the lack of airtime or quick turns was much more apparent this time. I love the tunnels and that double helix is still ridiculous, but the whole thing just felt a tad lacking this time. The night ride is still a must try for anyone who hasn’t tried it yet, but from now on I’ll probably just go for night rides on Mystic Timbers.

So that was a nice few hours at Kings Island. Part of me kind of wished I didn’t come back to the park the following Monday because there was a whole bunch o’ crap then. You can expect that report with the gang later.

Next up though, some more exciting stuff: the weekend of the CF Live!
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
Great report @Hutch! Sorry to hear that The Beast didn't quite live up to your memories of it, but I'm glad that you liked Mystic Timbers and Diamondback!

Oh, congratulations on 200, by the way!


Active Member
Part 5 - Columbus Zoo & CF Live Arrival
(Friday July 19th)

I gotta say, despite all the great parks and coasters, I was most looking forward to this day. Originally, I had no plans for any parks today, but this was the day I’d be meeting up which a bunch of other CFers.

But first, it was time to meet up with @Snoo for the first time and @Youngster Joey again. They were kind enough to let me join them on the drive down to Louisville. But before heading south, it was time for some cred whore action. Snoo, being the bad goon he is, never had the kiddie cred at the Columbus Zoo, despite him living like 20 minutes away. Apparently they have one of those junior woodies like the ones at the former Paramount parks. Be rude not to, right?

Upon paying for parking, we were informed that the car in front of us had decided to pay for our parking, whatever that means lol. We’ll take it though. But even without the parking, admission and tickets for the coaster collectively cost around $20 for each of us. I guess that’s by far the most I’ve ever spent on a single cred. What kind of hobby is this?

Now I actually did enjoy the Woodstock Express woodies from Carowinds and Kings Island, but Sea Dragon was okay. The drops weren’t that special and it didn’t really make an effort to do any fun bunny hills.

As underwhelming as it was, it was a nice bonus +1 of the trip.

Worth the $20? Ummm… yes? Gotta get those creds man.

We hit the road shortly after that. Once we got through Cincy, it was time for a late lunch. We stopped at a Jersey Mike’s and lo and behold there was a liquor store right next to it. So you know we found the right spot.

We were the first ones to arrive at the AirBnB. Since our tickets for Kentucky Kingdom work for two days, we thought we’d go in for a couple hours and get a few rides in on the good stuff.

We were basically just gonna do Storm Chaser but we decided to hit up Lightning Run along the way. I was looking forward to trying this again, especially as I only got one ride on this when I was here a few years back.

It’s still fantastic. It’s a smooth ride but it isn’t afraid to throw you around a bit. The ride focuses on brutal ejector airtime but also mixes in some tight turns and fast transitions. The last few bunny hops coming back to the station are violent as hell.

But for real, what happened to Chance Rides? I know they got that new Nickelodeon coaster opening, but clearly something happened with relation to the Hyper-GTX. It’s been five years since Lighting Run has opened and you’d think that there’d be a couple more of these by now. It’s a shame really, especially as this cost “only” $7 million.

And as great as Lighting Run is, it will forever be overshadowed by Storm Chaser.

This thing is just brilliant. It has just about everything you’d expect from an RMC. Great ejector, floaty inversions, sharp transitions and quick laterals.

I first did this ride when it was only a month old, before they switched the wheels (you know, to the “faster” wheels, whatever they’re called). It was definitely running a bit faster this time.

I had this ranked pretty closely around Wicked/Twisted Cyclone, but over this weekend I confirmed that Storm Chaser was indeed much better than those. In fact it even jumped a few spots higher in my Top 10.

We got six rides in that evening. Basically we just cycled through the thing until they kicked us off. Good start to the weekend.

At this point other people were pretty close to arriving at the house. @Skeletor had just landed at the airport across the street so the three of us picked him up on our way back. Shortly after returning to the place, @Sky and @StretchMcCoasterGuy showed up, as well as @Antinos. Everyone else would be arriving later in the night so the seven of us got some chicken at Joella’s and just hung out for a bit, which was great.

After dinner, we got the party started back at the house and eventually more people showed up, including @Hyde, Dan, Sky’s non-enthusiast friend (sorry, forget his name!), and later @tomahawk and @GuyWithAStick. Other than Antinos and Joey, everyone else I had met that day. And I can’t think of a better way to meet up with a bunch of CFers for the first time than this.

And one of us definitely died that night, courtesy of some hunch punch moonshine. You know who. 🤣

I called it a night at around 2 AM, but then I found Hyde, Antinos, and Sky cuddling in my twin bed. I think most other people didn’t go to sleep until 3:30, but luckily I managed to pass the **** out pretty quickly.

So that was just the start of a fantastic weekend. Next up, the official CF Live!


The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
MAN! What a blast start to a Live. LOVE IT! Also.. I'm a worse enthusiast because I used to live right up the street from the Zoo.. as in 5 minutes. So I never rode it. FOR SHAME!


Active Member
Part 6 - Kentucky Kingdom CF Live
(Saturday, July 20th)

Despite the late night, we had to be up relatively early. Snoo had arranged with Kentucky Kingdom for a little ERT session on Storm Chaser before the public opening. Most of us got to the park by 9AM, with everyone else showing up by 9:30. We gained a few more people for the day, including @jay37415, some locals and listeners of The Drunk Riders (again - forget your names so I apologize!). Later on @pkiknex25 and James from the Larson Loopers showed up as well.

Pretty soon the park escorted us in and we all headed to Storm Chaser. There were about 15 of us or so, and it was awesome to have this baby to ourselves for a few rides.

Unlike yesterday, they got both trains running (and honestly they really didn’t need to, considering it’s always a walk on). One thing that’s interesting is that the purple train actually runs faster than the blue train, I believe due to having a different set of wheels. While the blue train is still excellent, you really feel the difference on the purple train. It tries to kill you on some of the hills!

I’m normally a back row guy but I actually preferred the front on this one. While the pull through is great, the airtime is actually stronger in the front which made it more satisfying for me. If you sit in the front row in the purple train, you’ll definitely feel it in your legs on the first of the four bunny hills. It’s honestly in the running for strongest airtime you’ll ever get.

The back is still great too. You get more whip going down the barrel roll drop, and the big overbank has some wonderful floater.

The only awkward part is the transition going into the turnaround, right after the overbank. It’s a little unnecessary but wasn’t a huge issue.

Lastly, you know the ride is running much faster than intended when it powers through an unbanked turn into the brake run. I encourage you to look up POVs of this from 2016 and compare them to POVs now. You can really see how much of a difference that last turn is. It’s a hilarious finish to the ride.

The park opened, but we kept doing a couple more Storm Chaser rides since the place was still empty. Afterwards we went over to Thunder Run. What an abomination that was.

I don’t care how much retracking they’ve done on this, it’s still in rough shape. I can’t remember if any of the hills gave airtime or not (you’d think they would), but one of them damn near ruptured my spleen. There’s a horrible sudden transition that slams you into the side of the car, and it was painful. Thankfully the rest of the ride isn’t as bad, but I was already over it halfway through.

I know this wouldn’t make any sense, but I’d love to see the park tackle the Twisted Timbers layout on this. I don’t care, just do it.

Continuing on with the creds, T3 was up next. Some people needed the cred so I happily sat out and watched them suffer.

For some reason, Hyde decided to ride as well, even though he already had the cred. I think he actually enjoyed it as well!

Just about everyone needed the parks newest cred, Kentucky Flyer. These little Gravity Group coasters are awesome, and I was really excited to see Kentucky Kingdom invest in one of these.

I’ve heard thoughts that this was on the lower end of the GG family woodies, and that’s about what it was. For reference, I’ve only done Roar-O-Saurus and Wooden Warrior, and I felt that those had better airtime. There were a couple of pops here and there but nothing outstanding.

So while not as good as I initially hoped for, it’s still a fun ride regardless. The park did a really nice job with it. It looks lovely despite the parking lot location, and they’re running two trains which is more than necessary really. It’s definitely a ride they needed.

Since it was right there, we did this mini star flyer thing, Skycatcher. It was decent enough. It actually had a pretty quick rotation so it made a few of us a little dizzy getting off.

At this point we grabbed some food near T3, which was gross, and then we decided to hit Hurricane Bay. I’m not a water park guy (I don’t think any of us are), in fact I’ve never really done a legit water park before. I was actually looking forward to this and trying out a bunch of slides that were new to me. It was also hot as balls out, constantly around 95 degrees, so we were eager for a cool down. I don't have any photos of the water rides so this next part is a bit text heavy.

We donned our bathing suits, got some lockers, and, as recommended by the locals hit the Big Kahuna wave pool. Oh god how could I forget about this one! At certain times during the day, they send out 6 foot waves down the pool, which itself is wild enough. But when you cram in hundreds of kids in the pool? Nobody’s safe. Closer to the deep end, it’s really all about just jumping up with the wave. Further in where the waves break, it’s chaos. Those waves will send people flying left and right, over and under. If you get stuck there (and you know we all did), well, nice knowing you. With waves breaking every few seconds, we ended up taking out kids left and right. Hyde and Snoo even lost their sunglasses!

We did it twice: the first one they kept stopping because apparently some kids kept drowning, but the one we did later in the afternoon was non stop for about 10 minutes! I’m not sure how this is even allowed or how there hasn’t been some lawsuit against the park yet (?). It beats you up, and you’ve got to think some people have gotten seriously hurt on this in the past.

We loved it though. 🤣

Next up was the drop slide, Deep Water Dive. Most of us had never done one of these before so it was pretty exciting. It was a hike to get all the way up those stairs, and the whole structure was barely swaying in the wind. The ride was hilarious though. The expressions people make as they're falling through the floor are priceless. The ride itself was fun and a little nerve-racking. Some of the rapids definitely bruised my butt going down too.

After getting beat up by the last two rides, we took it easy for a bit in the Adventure River, which is just a lazy river with noodles. This might be actually be one of the best “rides” of the day because it was very refreshing and a lot of fun to just goof around. We even snuck in three laps!

We did some more slides after that, including Voodoo Express which was a series water slides with single inner tubes. Waikiki Wipeout was another slide but with two-person tubes. Both had fun drops and even some decent positive g forces!

Castaway Creek is another lazy river, this time with inner tubes. I think most of us prefer the other lazy river, mainly because with the noodles you’re in the water more so it’s more refreshing. This one had a pretty good cycle though.

The last water ride we did was the was the big funnel slide, Tornado. Despite the long queue, I’m glad we did it because it had a pretty ridiculous drop. We split up into groups of three and by the time our tube circled around I was facing backwards for the drop, and it was awesome!

Overall thoughts on the water park… like I said, I’d never really done water parks in the past and this felt like the perfect one to try out. It had everything: wave pools, body slides, lazy rivers, inner tubes, etc. I think we spent around 5 hours in the water park and while that was probably a bit overkill, it was boiling out so we kind of needed it. I will say later on I got a bit tired of all the queuing for the slides, and with the low throughput it made some rides very slow. But overall we had a pretty good time cooling off.

Alright, you’re probably itching to get back to creds. Here we go then.

We really needed a break to relax for a bit. A couple people went back to the AirBnB while most of us stayed. We got some more ****ty food at the front of the park. After that is was time for more rides.

I really wanted to do their flying scooters, Prof. John’s Flying Machines

Unfortunately these ones are pretty difficult to snap and ride cycle is rather short. It was still pretty fun though; you can never go wrong with this kind of ride.

From there it was time for a ride on Lightning Run. Intense ride as usual.

And then we whored up Roller Skater. I already had the cred but I rode it anyway for ****s and giggles. Hyde and I managed to squeeze in the same row for a very intimate ride. This ride also has a surprisingly aggressive turn back into the station, mimicking Storm Chaser’s brake run turn.

At this point everyone from the AirBnB was reunited, so we all did another ride on Storm Chaser.

StretchMcCoasterGuy still needed all the creds (you know why), so we all did another loop around, getting more rides in on Thunder Run, Kentucky Flyer, and Lightning Run. We skipped T3 because for some reason it had like a half hour wait, at least!

Most of the group called it a day after that, but some of us wanted one more ride on Storm Chaser. We got the last train of the night, and you know it was the best ride of the day. ;)

Back when I first did this park a few years ago, I spent maybe three hours there. This time we were there for 12 hours. I still can’t believe it. The waterpark easily turns this park from a half-day visit into a full day. Kentucky Kingdom may not have the best operations, the best layout, or the best food (I actually think they have some of the worst food lol), but I really like what they’re doing with the place. You can really tell the park cares. They have great rides but you never have to feel rushed to do anything. Also, our out of state tickets included free drinks, which was huge.

We all had a fantastic day, but we were exhausted. We went straight from the park to a local restaurant and basically took over the place. I don’t think any of the staff expected 12 of us to roll in at 9:30 PM and stay until after 11. But we had a great waitress who put up with us fools and the food was awesome as well.

We all chilled back at the AirBnB for a little bit before getting some much needed sleep. Luckily we were in no rush to wake up early the next day.


New Member
Idk man. I literally got so burned my body temperature went wild and I got a fever then became wildly sick for a couple days.

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Fantastic report of the KK live. Really enjoyed that. It sounds like one of the best CF lives ever. Really hope that my America road trip matches up with a US live next year because it would be awesome to join you guys.


Staff member
The only awkward part is the transition going into the turnaround, right after the overbank. It’s a little unnecessary but wasn’t a huge issue.
Agreed! It's ****! :p

Great write up of the day, sounds awesome. I gotta get myself to another of these big USA Lives. Not that I don't love the smaller ones I've done over the years, but getting more attendees is the USA is exciting!


Staff member
Social Media Team
Agreed! It's ****!

Great write up of the day, sounds awesome. I gotta get myself to another of these big USA Lives. Not that I don't love the smaller ones I've done over the years, but getting more attendees is the USA is exciting!
Get your beautiful ass back here!

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Active Member
Part 7 - Holiday World CF Live
Sunday, July 21st

Still fried from the sun yesterday, we hit the road to Holiday World after a nice sleep in. Halfway down we stopped at Waffle House for some breakfast and Target for some supplies. Since we were pretty leisurely that morning, we didn’t get to the park until around 12:30 central time. This was another park I had already done back in my 2016 trip, but I was really looking forward to coming back here and getting another shot at Voyage.

Weather turned out to be very hot like yesterday, with storms rolling in and out. Like Kentucky Kingdom, Holiday World never gets too crowded in the dry park. The waterpark is really the biggest draw, and it looked like it was rammed today. There was talk of doing the water slides here, but KK's waterpark burned us out so we all decided to focus on the creds.

Naturally, you gotta start with the smallest of the three woodies and work your way up. So Raven was up first. I guess I didn’t really get any good pictures of it…

This is a good coaster! I rode this in the back and it was a lot of fun. It starts out with some good drops in the first half (including a tunnel at the bottom of the first drop!) before going out through that lovely turn by the lake. From there it stays low to the ground and focuses on laterals, all with a great pace. It ends shortly after that but what it does overall is really solid. You can really see why this was rated among the best woodies back in the early 2000s. I also love the view of it as you approach the park entrance.

We got in line for Legend after that but a thunderstorm started rolling in and shut down all the outdoor rides. The only ride that was left open was Gobbler’s Getaway, located right next to Voyage.

This is a dark ride shooter where you’re supposed to “catch” all the escaped turkeys. I missed out on this ride last time but I’m glad I tried it this time because it’s pretty absurd.

I don’t think it’s the best shooter I’ve done, but it was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had on a ride like this. I rode with Youngster Joey, Antinos, and Hyde, and we all got really into it. Everytime you score a point your gun would output a turkey gobbling. We smiled and laughed the whole way. I also love how some of the doors don’t open until the cart crashes into it. I kinda wish I bought the on ride photo, it was a good one!

We timed our Gobbler ride very well. It rained for the ten minutes we were inside, and by the time got out it had already cleared up. There wasn’t much else for us to do except to wait for Voyage to open.

We figured, what with the sun back out an all, that’d all the rides would open back up pretty soon, but the thunderclouds just stopped moving after a few miles beyond the park. I think we ended up waiting around an hour and a half outside, but it was alright. The free drink stand and bathrooms were right there and the Voyage merch shop had some amazing AC. Without those we would’ve melted. Of course, the great company helps as well.

At long last the ride opened up. We immediately walked onto the ride.

I’ve made my thoughts on Voyage clear in the past, but I suppose I’ll briefly reiterate my experience here. I got a few rides in back in 2016 and didn’t see all the hype. It was brutal, had inconsistent airtime, and the lap bars stapled me. I was hoping it would be something like a longer Boulder Dash (which at the time I still rated very highly), but it wasn’t.

It was actually my 100th coaster, and another 100 coasters later here we are again. Apparently the ride was in pretty bad shape in 2016, and they’ve retracked most of it since then. Let’s see if I can love it this time.

I tried it out in the second to last row. I wanted to avoid any wheel seats for now.

It’s soooo much better! I honestly wasn’t totally convinced that the retrack would make a huge difference, but it was night and day compared to my 2016 rides. It’s not exactly the smoothest ride in the world as it still throws you around, but if you can keep your hands up the entire way, that’s good enough for me. As a redemption ride, it was everything I ever hoped for.

At first, it still wasn’t quite the mind-blowing ride some others make it out to be, but the re-rides we got later made me love it even more. I’ve come to realize that this ride isn’t really all about the airtime, despite being the woodie with the most airtime in the world. It’s really all about that incredible pace, transitions, and throwing you around.

The big drops are a lot of fun. The first big hills have some pretty nice floater, although it took me a couple rides to notice it. Then it just hauls you through sharp lateral and little pops of airtime, all while going through an amazing setting. The MCBR does slow the train quite a bit, but I don’t mind. It gives you a nice little breather and the second half is still fast.

This last turn into the brakes was the only part that hadn’t been retracked. It’s by far the roughest part of the ride but it’s nice that it’s only at the end. Honestly I’d be fine if they didn’t bother with it, it’s a funny reminder of what the whole ride used to ride like. A couple people commented that the valleys in between the big hills needed some work, but I thought they were fine. And I'm still not a fan of the lap bars, but they didn't bother me much this time.

It’s safe to say we were all pretty impressed by it after the first ride. We were hungry for more, but some of us still needed creds so we walked up the hill for Thunderbird.

Thunderbird was another ride I was looking forward to trying again, having only ridden it once last time.

This is still one of the best wingriders I’ve done. It's such a lovely ride, and it has one of my favorite stations. Being one of the few launched B&Ms already makes it a special ride. And that launch is a good one. It has some really good kick and is easily the highlight of the ride.

The big inversions are always pretty cool on wingriders. The exit of the immelmann is a good example. You get some cool forces depending on where you sit.

The rest of the layout is fun as well. It’s nothing crazy, but the elements flow nicely. The other highlight for me is the near miss helix into the inline twist; it’s a great finale.

And like all the other rides in the park, the setting is great.

We got a couple rides on it while we were there, getting a ride in on each side.

I still think Gatekeeper just edges this for my favorite wingrider, but the launch on this is easily the best element on all the wingriders I’ve done.

On our way back down the hill we popped in for another ride on Voyage… be rude not to.

Look at this goon:

It was time for the park’s third woodie, Legend. I rode with tomahawk in the front and I don’t think we rode the same ride. 🤣

I thought it was pretty crap a few years ago but this time it was actually alright, probably because I sat in the front (think I did back last time). I didn’t find it too rough and I think some of the hills had some decent airtime as well. I actually laughed the whole time, mainly because tomahawk screamed bloody murder the whole way. The ride is super lateral heavy, and he got the worst of it!

Even though we didn't do the water park, we were in dire need of a cool down. Frightful Falls was next, and believe it or not I hadn’t done a log flume in several years. It was actually really fun, had a refreshing little splash but of course not too wet.

After that another thunderstorm closed down all the rides, but that was fine as we decided to get some food and lay low for a bit. Luckily this storm cooperated and moved along no problem, so pretty soon we got back to some rides.

Some of us took over Howler for the +1. We definitely made a scene and received some looks from some families. The ride op loved us though, I think we were the highlight of his day!

I already had the cred so I focused on capturing the goons in their natural habitat.

Spot the credit whore:

This handsome devil got to go around three times!

Afterward, some of us wanted to try out Raging Rapids. The only other rapids ride I’ve done was Popeye & Bluto at Islands of Adventure, almost a decade ago. Since then I avoided them at all costs, mainly because of how stupidly soaked you get. Being with a big group of people this time I was like **** it, why not. And it was stupid fun. We were doing alright for a little bit, bit of splashes here or there, nothing crazy. But towards the end the ride just gives you a big middle finger and dumps a waterfall on you. There goes my sneakers, but it was worth it.

We finished the day off on a final ride on Voyage. This one sparked extra anxiety due to another thunderstorm approaching, and it was a big one this time.

Some of us ended up going for the middle. It didn’t matter what row, really just any row that would get us on the quickest before they inevitably shut the ride down. It got down to the wire. Operators kept getting phone calls and having discussions that were likely about the storm, but luckily we got on.

It was easily the best ride of the day, and the stormy setting was awesome. I think we were the second to last train before the ride ops had to call it for the storm. Obviously we would’ve love another ride or two on Voyage but we were already thinking about heading out.

Despite the thunderstorms popping in and out, this was easily one of the best parks on this trip. Holiday World is such a nice park, and I loved it even more this time. Of course, it’s helped that Voyage has improved significantly, but the staff, atmosphere, and setting are top notch here. Free drinks are another huge win; little things like that really show how much the park cares about the guests rather than money.

It rained the whole drive back to the AirBnB. At one point our car even plowed through a big, unexpected puddle and basically made a shoot the chute splash!

With it being our last night in the AirBnB, you know we partied again. Later on we ordered a bunch of pizzas, which was a godsend! (Thank you Skeletor for ordering and thank you Hyde for picking it up <3). We were so happy when it arrived and I think it was all gone in 10 minutes!

What an amazing weekend. I don’t know whether Saturday or Sunday was better, but I had an absolute blast. Luckily the CF Live wasn't quite finished; most of us still had a couple more days together!


Active Member
Part 8 - Kings Island CF Live
Monday, July 22nd

A few people from the group had to go about their separate ways, but most of us decided to continue on together at Kings Island, and later Cedar Point. At this point, the group was me, Snoo, Antinos, tomahawk, Youngster Joey, Sky, StretchMcCoasterGuy, and pkiknex25.

We left the AirBnB in the morning, got an early lunch on the drive up, and entered the park at around midday. The weather wasn’t much of an improvement from yesterday, but at least it didn’t thunder so all the rides stayed open.

A few people needed most of the creds, so we all more or less did a cred run on all the crap. First up was Invertigo, which I remember being the worst cred in the park last time. There was no way I was riding it again.

Then we hiked it over to Bat.

This is a pretty fun ride. The novelty helps it but it also has some pretty good turns and helices. It gains some good speed and has some pretty decent transitions. Too bad there aren’t more of these.

It’s just a shame the ride is hidden by itself. They really need to spruce up this area and put more stuff over here.

Next up was a ride on Banshee.

I wasn’t too impressed with this ride last time. It was only two years old at the time and had already gained a rattle. Let’s see if it’s any different this time.

Yeah, it’s still the worst B&M invert I’ve done. We sat in the middle and the rattle is still there. I thought it improved a little bit but then our re ride later was more rattly. So hasn't changed a bit since I first rode it. In every valley the whole train just shakes around. I don’t know if it’s the bigger invert trains or the park’s poor maintenance, but it’s really unfortunate to see a five year old B&M ride like this.

Honestly, even if the ride was butter smooth, I still think it’d be my least favorite invert. The inversions are too big to be any interesting. There’s no whip, no snappy pull through, they’re all just kind of there. Even the zero g roll, which is usually my favorite element on an invert, is pretty forgettable here.

The elements that I actually think are pretty good are the first drop, the inline twist, and the helix. So it starts off well and ends well. I guess overall it’s alright, and unfortunately one of the better rides in the park. I'm just not really sure why some people love it?

Drop Tower was a ride I missed a few years ago, so I made sure to try it this time. It’s definitely one of the better drop towers I’ve done. The view at the top is great and the speed and airtime going down is awesome.

Adventure Express was next. This ride obviously isn’t anything special but I tend to enjoy Arrow mine trains, and this was a fun one. The train rumbled and tossed you around the whole way, but it was still pretty enjoyable, if a bit uncomfortable. I like how it actually does some stuff before the first lift hill, but the finale is such a middle finger.

Tomahawk needed one of the sides of Racer but he couldn’t remember which one he had so we did it twice. He was definitely excited about it too.

I ended up just doing the blue side twice. I sat towards the front both times (including one front row ride) and it was so much better than what I remember years ago. I remember it being rough as hell but obviously it’s much more tolerable in the front. There’s some decent airtime on some of the hills and the racing aspect is fun. Other than that it doesn’t offer a whole lot.

We saved Flight of Fear for later as it had a queue so we continued on with the next cred, Vortex. You can definitely tell that this was such an intimidating and ambitious ride back when it opened.

For some reason there was actually a queue for this ride, even with the poor weather. We ended up waiting about 10 minutes.

The following before-and-after reaction just about sums up the ride:

It was so much worse than I remembered. I used to think Invertigo was the worst coaster in the park, and boy was I wrong. The whole ride just shudders back and forth, has some horrendous transitions, and is just plain uncomfortable. If it couldn’t get any worse than that, we all got assigned the back few rows of the train. The second half was worse than the first half too. The corkscrews were probably the most offensive.

As bad as it was, I actually laughed the whole way because of how absurd it was and how we were all screaming in pain. But still, never again.

For some reason Backlot Stunt Coaster had a huge queue, so we came back to it later.

Beast was next. After my night ride, I was interested to get an updated opinion on the day ride.

I was interested in trying out the back row, and it wasn’t great. It’s a lot rougher back there; definitely the place you want to avoid. The big helix had some major jackhammering, which is a shame as that's normally the best part of the ride. Yeah, let’s kick that out of my Top 30 then. At least the night ride is still good.

Backlot Stunt Coaster’s queue had died down a bit, so we did that. It’s a pretty solid family coaster. They put some decent effort into theming but sadly the theme itself doesn’t look all that great. The launch into the helix is pretty good though. It enters with a pretty snappy transition and there’s some decent force going up.

We went back around for some Mystic Timbers, and by the time we got on the rain had started again. It was pretty light rain, but with the ride’s pacing we got absolutely annihilated.

It was definitely running faster than the other day, and it showed no mercy with the rain. We were soaked by the time we got off. Rain rides are interesting, but honestly it makes it hard to enjoy the ride. The raindrops hurt, so you focus on shielding your eyes rather than enjoying the airtime. It was ridiculous experience to say the least.

We went for another rain ride, this time on Diamondback.

It rode about the same as it did the other day. Some rattle in the valleys, great airtime at the top. Of course we got pelted by the rain so that made it a little hard to enjoy.

We did another ride on Mystic Timbers (much better with the rain easing off at this point) and headed towards the Eiffel Tower. This was closed on my visit a few years ago so I was looking forward to finally trying it out this time. The views were pretty sweet, and it’s a nice change from the usual rotating observation tower. You’ve probably seen all these camera shots in the past, but here they are anyway.

Lots of land clearing for the Orion plot. Obviously this was from a month ago so not too exciting.

Some of us still needed Flight of Fear so we went back to that. Unfortunately the queue hadn’t really died down (should’ve known with the rain, what with it being an indoor ride) so we ended up waiting a half hour. When I first rode it a few years ago, I thought it was a pretty solid indoor coaster.

Good god something must have happened because it ran like ****. It was bad. The train rattled around the entire ride, and it had some pretty bad transitions (I think entering the corkscrew was particularly bad). How the hell did this happen? And it has lap bars too, but I can’t imagine what this would be like with OTSRs. The only redeeming factor is the launch, but everything after that is trash. How about they tear this down because the building is quite ugly anyway?

All of us were pretty disgusted with Flight of Fear, so we wanted to end the day on a better note and get another ride on Banshee.

Our re ride was more rattly than the first, probably due to being on a different train. Yeah, it is really sad that this is still one of the better rides in the park. At least it looks fantastic.

It was only around 5 PM but we headed out after that. We were all damp and not fully recovered from the weekend so we were pretty happy to leave early.

Now that I’ve been to Kings Island multiple times, I can definitely say my thoughts of the park have changed. Let’s get the positives out of the way first: the park is nice with plenty of trees and decent landscaping. The operations are top tier, with just about every team absolutely killing it. You do have the occasional stacking on rides with three trains, that’s honestly not a huge deal for me.

The big, and honestly only, problem for me is that the coaster selection isn’t good, considering the amount they have. They have 14 roller coasters (technically 15 with Racer), and honestly only Mystic Timbers and Diamondback are the only great ones. Beast has great night ride, but it can be pretty poor during the day. Other than the big three, the best ones after that are Banshee, and then...oh no... Bat? Bat, Backlot Stunt Coaster and Adventure Express are okay, Racer is only decent in the front, but then you have Invertigo, Flight of Fear, and Vortex which are all trash. And not to mention the kiddie creds, but we’ll leave those out.

So 2/15 coasters are really worthwhile (ok, 3/16 with Orion, but still), and the rest just range from okay to ****. You gotta do better than that in a park this big, especially if this park is on Cedar Fair’s “good side.” They’ve already improved with with replacing Firehawk with Orion, but now they really need to torch Vortex, Flight of Fear, and Invertigo.

I mean, look at the park pre-Diamondback. Would you want to ride anything multiple times?

Another problem that’s been brought up in the Orion thread is that they desperately need to get their **** together with the B&M rattle. It’s sad to see new(ish) B&Ms riding so poorly compared to all other B&Ms. Besides maybe a couple of the standups, Banshee is by far the roughest B&M I’ve ever done, and Diamondback is up there as well.

But anyway, Kings Island ladies and gentlemen.

Some of us ate at a nearby BDubs knock-off for a nice meal and break. We then hit the road afterward and arrived at the Snoo household for one last night together. We had another early start the next morning for everyone’s favorite, Cedar Point.


Active Member
Part 9 - Cedar Point CF Live
Tuesday, July 23rd

We all struggled waking up early, but eventually we got on the road a little after 7 AM. Since I had two days at the park, and visited the park on separate occasions in the past, I didn’t need to be in a rush. But everyone else only had the one day there so consensus was to get inside the park before public opening and get on Steel Vengeance before it got crazy. Let’s do it then.

We all arrive at the peninsula at around 9:30. I was about 10 minutes behind everyone, but some people decided to nab Woodstock Express so I caught up with the gang there. We also met up with longtime CFer @Titan who joined us for the day. Pretty soon we faced my most anticipated cred of the trip.

There she is.

We got in line for Steel Vengeance at about 9:50, and it was already listed for a 2 hour wait. It turned out to be more like an hour and a half, maybe less, and on two trains. Three trains would’ve been great but they were honestly killing it with two. In fact, we thought they were running three!

Obviously, the queue gives you some incredible shots of the ride, most notably the first drop. It certainly helped pass the time.

So my first ride on Steel Vengeance, back row, and what a ride. There’s so much in there, it just leaves you so much to contemplate when you’re back on the brake run. Let’s try to go through it then.

The first drop. It’s not the most intense part of the ride, but what a way to start it off. It’s a nice pop of airtime going down. Just when you think it can’t get any steeper, the train just leaves you falling more. I mean, 200 ft at 90 degrees? What more could you ask for?

Even the little hop at the bottom does a bit of stuff. I didn’t really expect anything, but it’s just a fun little transition before the big hills.

The two big hills give out some great sustained ejector with a bit of laterals sprinkled in as well. The outerbanked one is so weird, but so fun.

All the inversions are pretty wild. The first rotates you so fast and it just keeps going. I think you’re rotating over 400 degrees. Each one of them had some sort of mix of floater and snap.

I don’t really know if the MCBR was catching or not, but the hills going in and out of it are intense. The MCBR gives you a nice little breather for a couple seconds before going into another awesome drop. But from what I gathered on all my rides, I think the hill going up into the MCBR, and this medium sized hill right here had the strongest airtime.

From there you have those incredible sections inside the structure, and that interaction might be the best thing this ride does. Staying fairly low to the ground, you get bunny hops, quick inversions, a mini wave turn that comes out of nowhere, and some surprise laterals. And it just keeps going.

The bunny hills at the end are absurd. You can tell Alan Schilke was just like “Alright, let’s see how many airtime hills we can fit here.”

So my thoughts were definitely racing as I got off. It was awesome, and definitely the best ride at Cedar Point, but after one ride there was no way I could put it at the very top. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be better than Lightning Rod, though that was partly to keep my expectations at bay. But I knew I couldn’t rank it above Lightning or Storm Chaser, especially with Chaser running so fast and so intense the other day. Vengeance was probably hovering around my Top 5 at this point, but I needed more rides to get a better opinion. We’ll return later…

This is gonna a long report, so let’s get on with it.

Gemini is basically a big, dueling, Arrow mine train, or at least it rides like one. It’s fairly smooth but has a couple of shuffles in the big valleys. It has some decent airtime and fun drops, but they’re pretty abrupt and not the most comfortable. Of course the racing aspect is great, especially being able to high five other riders.

We actually ended up waiting 15 minutes for it, which is kinda unheard of. This would become a theme throughout the rest of the day.

I’ve done Magnum XL-200 a few times in the past, and everytime it was never more than a few minutes wait. This time, the queue spilled all the way into the cattle pens. It was around 20 minutes.

I’ve struggled to enjoy this ride in the past, mainly because of the painful airtime. Well, this time it was much better. The park added some extra padding on the lap bar this year, and Antinos gave me the tip of keeping my seat belt really tight. That definitely made the abrupt airtime more enjoyable, but now there was something else bothering me. The sharp valleys in the second half were pretty uncomfortable, and they almost gave me a headache. The turnaround is also trash; the entry has some seriously awful banking.

It could be a great ride honestly as the intensity is there, but it just has a couple issues holding it back for me.

The queue for Gatekeeper wasn’t too bad, and with it’s great throughput, it didn’t take long for us to ride. It left me feeling pretty confident that it’s my favorite wingrider.

All the inversions are really good, the keyholes are fantastic, and there’s even some positive g-force and a bit of airtime as well. My favorite moments are the big floater hill, and the top of the immelmann. If you sit back left, you get some sweet airtime exiting the immelmann.

The park had a Melt restaurant nearby so we all got a big table for some lunch. Unfortunately our waitress was awful, but the food was great and the place was filled with some cool old school photos of the park. Dan also met back up with us here which was great.

We wandered around for a bit trying to figure out what to do next. 2 hour wait for dragster… 90 minutes for Maverick, 2 + hours for Vengeance, hour for Millennium, 90 minutes for Raptor. We heard at one point that Vengeance was down to one train and the wait was 4 hours, and 1.5 hours for Fast Lane. It wasn’t looking good.

Tomahawk needed Valravn, so we sucked up the wait. I think it turned out to be close to an hour and a half, thanks to fast lane screwing everything up. This was about when fatigue from the entire trip started kicking in for me, so that combined with the heat made it a pretty difficult wait for me.

This ride tends to get a bad rap but honestly it’s pretty fun. The drops are always great and, for a dive machine, it has a solid layout. The inversions are nice and floaty and there’s a nice pop of airtime at the end. We had enough people to take over the front row, and there’s a great ORP of us around somewhere. (Hopefully you’ve seen it… check the CF Live thread).

And there’s nothing wrong with the restraints. I don’t know why others think this, but they’re not restricting at all, and I’ve done a few of the other dive machines with the normal OTSRs. Honestly I can't tell a difference.

We hiked back up for a loop around the park. We rode Maverick in the front, and this is a damn good coaster.

This is one of the few coasters that’s gotten higher and higher in my rankings the more I ride it. There’s such a wide variety of phenomenal elements. Fun launched lift launch, brutal first drop, a couple of ejector moments, amazing tunnel launch… oh yeah, I totally forgot there were inversions here too! (Not that the inversions are bad, it’s just everything else is so good and memorable I kinda forgot about them!). Even the trim after the launch didn't bother me that much either.

But I think my favorite moments on this ride might be the lateral transitions and overbanked turns. They’re so snappy, and with the softer restraints they're not uncomfortable.

Titan stayed behind to get some fantastic shots of us… huge thanks to her for sharing these with me!

I played around with that second photo... it has all four of our expressions in clear view. Just look at these goons!

We took a walk into Adventure Island to check out Forbidden Frontier. They basically put in a giant playground with a bunch of hammocks and picnic tables, and while that might not sound like the most exciting addition, honestly it might be the nicest area of the park.

Sure, they probably could’ve used the space for another big coaster, but it’s a relaxing and hidden area away from the rest of the rides and crowds. There’s also some unique shots of Millennium Force. We chilled out there for a bit.

We continued on with a ride on Rougarou, another good coaster for the park’s supporting lineup.

This is actually a pretty intense coaster. As an old-school B&M, it focuses more on positive g-force in the inversions and turns. I didn’t find it that rattly, although I sat in an inside seat.

There’s a really cool transition after the inclined loop. It stays low to the ground and has some serious whip to it. Easily the highlight of the ride.

While we were in the area, we did a ride on the big boy.

Millennium Force ended up being about a 50 minute wait. But with three trains and a great team operating it, the queue never stopped moving. For a ride this big that’s approaching 20 years of operation, it’s in great shape. And that first drop is still one of the best in the world.

A lot of people claim that this ride is “Millennium Forceless,” but I don’t know what they’re riding because I grey out on this huge overbank everytime.

The two big airtime hills act more like a B&M camelback rather than an Intamin hill. They provide some smooth floater at the top.

The overbanks in the middle aren’t all that special, but with the ride cooking at a great speed it’s still exciting.

The bunny hop by the station is probably the best part of the ride. I wish there was another one right after it instead of the awkward straight section before the last overbank.

All in all, such a fun coaster. It’s not Top 10 for me anymore; it was actually in my Top 5 before this trip but now I’ve realized there are other rides that deserve more praise. Still Top 20 I think.

We timed our Millie ride pretty well as a thunderstorm brewed nearby. Pretty soon, as you’d expect from CP, all the major rides and coasters closed down. This wasn’t supposed to last too long, but it made for such an eerie atmosphere.

A few others from our weekend group had already left, but at this point it was time for the rest of the group to leave. Titan would still be hanging around for a bit (she was sort of in the middle of her own trip but would be at CP for a few days).

I’m not quite done with the report for this day (I know, I know), but I might as well talk about this here. It was such a bittersweet feeling saying goodbye after spending 5 days with all you fools. This was easily the best theme park related trip I had ever done, and that’s mainly down the people that joined me. You know who you are. I already knew going into it that this would be a pretty awesome trip, but forget about the rest of the parks I did solo for a second. If it was just that weekend in Louisville with the two parks, it still would’ve been my favorite trip. Getting to make new friends that share this same crazy passion that I have is wonderful. Whether it was talking about coasters (or anything else lol), tearing it up in the AirBnB, going out for meals, or just fooling around and having a good laugh, I had an absolute blast. So many great memories were made, and I’m glad to be a part of it!

Big thanks The Drunk Riders (@Snoo, @Antinos, @tomahawk) for planning out this meetup in the first place. Had the CF Lives not occur it’s possible I might not have met everyone. Huge thanks to @Hyde for organising lodging for everyone that weekend. It definitely made things a lot easier for all of us, and it certainly made things a lot more fun as well! Special thanks to @Snoo for letting me carpool to and from Columbus and crash at his house. I had previously never met the sexy man himself so it was really awesome to see how welcoming he was (interpret that however you want, lol). For real though, it gave me a much needed break from all the solo driving I had to do, so I’m very grateful for all that.

Thanks again to the whole group for just being awesome. I can’t wait to see you all again, whether it’s during one of next year’s CF Lives or not! :D

Okay, let’s finish this puppy up. Just a little bit left.

I took a little break outside the park to let the weather pass. Luckily it didn’t affect my plans for later that night. There was an ERT event that night for Platinum Passholders. And you can’t do ERT any better than with the two best coasters in the park, Steel Vengeance and Maverick

A little after 9 PM I met back up with Titan who decided to join me for the ERT. I grabbed a slice of pizza on the way over to tide me over for the night (I was hoping to sit down maybe the TGI Friday’s at the Breakers but I didn’t have enough time for that).

So ERT wouldn’t officially begin until all the guests who got in line before 10 PM would get a ride. After that we’d have an hour of ERT. The best option (as recommended by the staff as well) would be to join the queue before 10 anyway and get an extra night ride in. We entered the queue at 9:55 and it took about 50 minutes for us to get on. Thankfully they were back up to two trains. The staff were going as quick as they could to get all the riders through so they could get ERT started.

Holy ****. NOW we’re talking. Not only does the darkness make it that much more fun, but it was running so much faster than it did in the morning. Yes please.

After our first night ride we waited outside for the ERT to open. I think between Vengeance and Maverick there were probably about a couple hundred people. Vengeance opened back up at around 11:30, and once we entered the queue we were on again in 10 minutes. And this time on back row!

I think this was the ride where I realized that it was probably my new No. 1. Honestly, part of me didn’t want it to end up being number one because it’s such a basic favorite these days, but who am I kidding. These night rides really were the most fun I’ve ever had on a roller coaster.

If we take a look at the individual elements, I wouldn’t say any of the airtime is stronger than Storm Chaser or Lightning Rod’s. Storm Chaser definitely has the strongest airtime moments, and honestly Lightning Rod probably has the better elements (I actually prefer the quad down, outward banked hill, and big wave turn on LR more than any element on SV). But when you take all the elements collectively, Vengeance turns out to be the more exciting ride.

There’s so much great stuff that it’s difficult for me to pick a favorite moment. I will say some of the more memorable elements were the ones that did things I wasn’t expecting. The third or fourth (I think the third) inversion has a wicked lateral in the exit. Same deal with the hill up to the MCBR. Those two moments got me everytime. That seemingly basic turn in between the first two inversions? Yeah, somehow there’s floater there.

The wave turn towards the end is also awesome. I still prefer Lightning Rod’s, but this one has a nice little kick, and it all takes place inside the structure.

After our second night ride we went over to Maverick. As amazing as Vengeance is at night, it would be foolish to pass up on Maverick night rides. And it was empty! We walked on to the front row and didn’t move for a couple rides. Oh man it was so good.

Maverick’s ERT must have started some time before Vengeance’s, because they kicked us off after just a couple rides. The ride op had a fun time teasing us. “You guys wanna ride again? Alright, come back tomorrow morning!”

So we went back for one more ride on Steve before calling it a night.

It was almost 12:30 by the time we got off, but what a way to end the day! I had been at the park for 15 hours, which is by far the longest I’ve ever spent a day at a theme park. With a big park like Cedar Point and running on maybe 5 hours of sleep, you can imagine how exhausted I was. Luckily my motel was just down the road. I checked in at 1:00 and was in bed by 1:30.

Had to get the same shots that I got during the day:

Sorry for this long report. It didn't help that I took a **** ton of photos, but you know. The next day was mostly re-rides so I’ll try to keep the text at a minimum. :)