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Paramounts Kings Island (Mason, USA)

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A theme park located in the city of Mason, in Warren County, Ohio

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      10.07.2004 03:40
      Very helpful



      INTRODUCTION This review is based on a trip I made to Paramount's King's Island theme park in Ohio, USA last August (2003). I will be going again on my coaster tour this summer and can't wait to go back. It is the largest park in the Paramount chain and that really is saying something - this is theme park on a grand scale! The park is located just north of Cincinnati in southern Ohio and is easily reached from all over the state. It's around 4 hours drive from the incredible Cedar Point, possibly it's only rival in the world of theme parks (Ill be reviewing this place soon too, so stay tuned!). Obviously you probably won't be coming to Ohio just for this if you live flights away but if you're in the area for whatever reason, I'd say its unmissable. On the gate entry is around $45, this drops to around $35 if you book online and about $25 if you take advantage of offers that are frequently going on at local restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets - pretty good value I'm sure you'll agree - though there is one niggle here, parking is a rather steep $8 but there is a similar charge at nearly all other parks in the area so its not unreasonable. Now, on to my favourite part, the rides! I'll be going through them in the order that me and my companions hit them on the day: THE RIDES Arrive practically bang on opening time at 10am - now its time for me to get really excited - I can see rollercoasters! The skyline is dominated by the enormous 'Drop Zone Stunt Tower' at over 300ft, also the gigantic 'Son of Beast' wooden coaster is very visible. There's been talk of bad storms today which seems to have put many people off coming - a
      ll the better for us! We get in on discount tickets obtained from a local Blockbuster rental store - costing only $22 per person! One thing I notice is that we have to go through metal detectors before we can get in, methinks this is a probably a good idea and makes the place seem that little bit more safety conscious. The main midway is spectacular, a huge pool with enormous fountains and a (pretty crappy) big model of the Eiffel Tower. We head over to the action Zone and hit Face/Off (Vekoma Invertigo) first. FACE/OFF - It's similar to the boomerang coasters seen all over the world but fairly unique thanks to its inverted (below the track) face-to-face seating. Unfortunately it breaks down just as we're about to get on, but its fixed soon enough. The restraints are big and bulky and reek of sweat, but they?re comfy enough. The ride is very smooth but incredibly disorientating - it actually made me feel a bit sick - still, it's well worth a ride due to the unique experience - its fun to watch the other rider's faces as you traverse the twisted course first forwards, then backwards! I'd give it a 6/10. DROP ZONE STUNT TOWER - Queued for ages for the towering Drop Zone, an enormous 330ft Intamin Gyro Drop (one of if not the tallest of its kind!). Its very slow loading unfortunately - looks a bit understaffed - and being so tall it takes ages to get to the top of the tower before dropping. Still, it's pretty scary waiting for it as every time the car plummets back down to earth the queue line is hit by a huge blast of air. Finally we're on, it's no doubt extremely scary but otherwise pretty similar to Apocalypse at Drayton Manor in terms of ride experience. Ill go with 6/10. R
      ACER - Back on the main midway, we did Racer next, an old racing wooden coaster - this was my first woodie ever, I didn't really enjoy it very much, it seemed too rough and rickety but I think I need to re-ride it a couple of times before making a final decision. As it is, I'd give it 4/10. FLIGHT OF FEAR - Now for a ride I was very much looking forward to - Flight of Fear, an enclosed Premier LIM bowl - in non enthusiast speak thats a launched coaster that blasts along straight track into a tangle of twisted track and inversions that looks just like a bowl of spaghetti. However, as the ride is enclosed, you don't see this! The queue line is brilliant, its a huge UFO parked in a hangar where monitors tell the story of a crew investigating it. After entering the UFO, you get into the station where there are backlit pods with what look like cocooned humans inside. An empty train pulls in and is quickly loaded - one thing to note about this ride - unlike most inverting coasters, there are no restrictive over the shoulder restraints, just solid lap bars. After a thumbs-up from the ride ops, the train blasts out of the station at an incredible speed and disappears down a tunnel in a blaze of strobes and blue spotlights. We ride near the back and before I know it we're on our way. The launch is incredible - in fact the whole ride seems spectacularly fast, especially near the end where the ground hugging helices and final corkscrew are taken at blistering speed. It's difficult to try and work out what elements went on exactly because its so fast and tangled, but rest assured it was awesome. I'd give it 9/10. VORTEX - Next we hit Vortex, an Arrow megalooper. There's no queue - we just walk straight on to
      the 2nd row. And we're off. This is a big big coaster - all the elements are on a really grand scale. The lift hill seems very high, it's followed by a shallow swoop round to the right followed by an immense first drop. The ride is surprisingly smooth (Arrow megaloopers have a bit of rep for being rough) the double loop element is great, then follows a sharp turn into trim brakes which get the train to just the right speed for the following double corkscrew which has great hangtime. This is followed by a rare batwing element, also very cool and powerful near the bottom. Then follows a forceful final helix into the brakes - all in all a great ride - far surpassed my expectations. We rode Vortex again later on in the day, nearer the back this time, where it gives the most incredible ejector airtime on the first drop. 8/10. BEAST - The legendary Beast which held the record for biggest wooden coaster for ages. It reminds me very much of the Ultimate at Lightwater Valley with its 2 lift hills and terrain hugging layout through dense woodland. To ride, it's a wee bit rough and unfortunately slightly ruined by overuse of trim brakes throughout the course. Well worth a ride though, if not just for the historical value. 6.5/10. TOMB RAIDER - THE RIDE - Now for one of the best rides of my trip - Tomb Raider - The Ride (I know, sucky name - but the theme works well). Its an enclosed Huss Giant Top Spin with SFX - think Ripsaw at Alton Towers, then make it about 5 times bigger, stick it in giant shed and add some world class special effects and your on the right lines. You can tell this is a class ride just from the queue line into the 'tomb' which is very well done. Shortly after splitting into 2 lines, a huge p
      ortal door rolls open in a blaze of smoke and lights. One of the best things about this ride is that you can't see whats going to happen or even what it is until you're on it. The capacity of it is huge, around 80 people per ride I think - the whole scale of the thing is mind-boggling! This does mean it takes ages to load and check though, but boy is it worth the wait. It starts slowly, rising up ominously past some great architecture, stopping in front of a goddess of fire and ice who does some flashy spells. Then it all goes black and things really kick off! The ride performs some incredible spins and flips and because of the darkness of the chamber its impossible to tell what position you?re in! Suddenly, disoriented, you're thrust headfirst at a wall of ice with skeletons and gleaming crystals in it - where on earth did that come from??! Then you suddenly flip out again and begin lowering into a lava pit before pulling off yet more cool spins and flips before coming to a slightly premature halt. Thats my only complaint about this ride - it just seems a wee bit short... but then again I would be quite happy if it went on forever. 9.5/10. TOP GUN - Heading back over to the action zone now as the storms move in, Top Gun is an Arrow Suspended Swinging coaster themed around the movie of the same name - the station is an aircraft carrier! Suddenly it begins raining hard and we're convinced that the ride will close before we get on - but it doesn't and we're soon cresting the tall lift hill and embarking on an incredible ride! This coaster (like most) runs very very fast in the wet - and the faster it goes, the more it swings. I can't really say much more about it. No-one seems to be coming on it (presumably because they think it's closed) so we stay on for another lap - this time, about halfway up the lift, the downpo
      ur turns really torrential - we're talking waterfall type stuff here. The ride's going faster than ever and its impossible to keep our eyes open because of the sheeting rain. We get totally soaked! As the rain calms down, I go for one more lap to dry off! A wondrous experience although probably not quite as entertaining without the rain! 8.5/10. SON OF BEAST - Right next to Top Gun is the very menacing looking Son of Beast, towering some 215ft high, the mind boggles at how much wood was used to build this. It's currently the world?s tallest and fastest wooden rollercoaster and the only one ever to feature a loop! The queue is a walk-on again because it has only just stopped raining - we ride at the very back. A fair bit of this ride actually happens before the main lift hill, it drops out of the station down into a valley type area, where it's fast and fun but a little rough. Then you're on the big lift and you realise how very very tall this suicidal machine is! Soon you're swooping down a very steep drop and mind-blowing speeds, followed by some awesome inclined helices (or carousels), then into some trim brakes and into a steep drop down to the loop, which is fantastic - really smooth with great hangtime - certainly one of the best loops I've ever done. These parts of the ride are truly spectacular. Unfortunately after this the ride became nearly unbearably rough and bumpy - it hurts! I hear from other enthusiasts that matters improve greatly if you ride near the front but we never got a chance to try. I'd certainly give this beast another go though - 7.5/10. ADVENTURE EXPRESS - After this we hit Adventure Express, an Arrow mine train. Its quite fun as far as these things go but not great. Be prepared for the
      rather anticlimactic 3rd lift hill!4.5/10. XTREME SKYFLYER - Back in the Action Zone, my friend insists I do the Xtreme Skyflyer, a pay-per-ride attraction. It costs around $15 per person, which isn't bad considering how much I've seen similar rides charging at other parks. Before I know what's going on he's bought me a ticket and shunted me into the ride area where a bunch of attendants set about strapping me into some sort of parachute harness. Before I can even begin to contemplate what's about to happen I'm being hoisted face down up about 150ft by cables. Then you hear 3-2-1 Fly! and its up to you to pull the ripcord that lets you go! That takes some balls I can tell you but its well worth it, it feels very unrestricted and its wonderful fun swooping up and down. You can even buy a souvenir video of your flight afterwards! 8/10. DELIRIUM - Also in the Action Zone is a Huss Giant Frisbee named Delirium. Quite the spectacular looking ride, it provides a very similar ride experience to most other gyro swings - this one especially reminded me of Maelstrom at Drayton Manor, just on a much larger scale. 7.5/10. OTHER RIDES - The park also is well known for excellent provisions for younger riders, with several large areas devoted to the kids. These include no less than 3 coasters, including the rather excellent looking 'Runaway Reptar', a mini suspended coaster along the same lines as Top Gun; the 'Beastie' - predictably, a smaller woodie for thrillseekers not yet ready for Beast or SoB. There's also several Scooby-Doo themed rides including a dark ride adventure and another small coaster. Obviously I
      ; can't give enormously informed opinions on these as I didnt go on them but it all looks great fun for younger guests. There are also a variety of smaller rides including a couple of water flumes and older flat rides - plenty for everyone basically! New in 2004 is the 'Boomerang Bay' waterpark expansion, which I'm sure will be a godsend on hot days but ain't really my cup of tea. Word has it PKI is heading for its next major coaster in 2005/06, should certainly be something to look forward to. We end up leaving the park at about 9pm when the storms really set in and everything shuts down for fear of lightning. We still had time for a few more goes on our favourite rides like Tomb Raider and Flight of Fear. What a day! CATERING/AMENITI&# 69;S/SHOWS We had lunch at the large 'Festhaus' eatery which was lovely and air conditioned, food was reasonably priced and the pizza delicious, if a little big! Snacked throughout the day, soft drinks are predictably overpriced but are at least large. One thing to avoid - funnel cake! I was told by my American friends to try this but if you ask me it looked (and tasted) more like a plate of dog turds with sugar on. Had tea at Bubba Gump's shrimp shack, which sounded promising but was alittle disappointing (bit tasteless really) - still, was reasonable value again as far as parks go. There are all the usual souvenir shops, again not oo overpriced, toilets are as good as can be expected and the park is generally very well kept, litter free and well staffed. There are several shows running throughout the day for those not so interested in the rides but of course I didn't check these out (apart from a peculiar oriental dancing show wh
      ich we passed going on near the eiffel tower!). CONCLUSION This is a superb theme park for everyone to enjoy. Do not under any circumstances miss out on it if you are anywhere near and have the slightest bit of interest in these sort of things. It's only beaten by it's nearby rival Cedar Point so I give it an overall rating of 9/10. Thanks for reading! Tom.


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