We left the Express hotel on Wednesday morning following our first day at Cedar Point to make the trip to Kings Island. The day didn’t get off to the best of starts with bad traffic and road closures, but we finally made it to Kings Island to find that the park was rather quiet.
Past the ticket kiosks the park’s entrance area is stunning with the Eiffel tower structure in the distance, fountain and brass band music (The dam busters march was playing as we entered). It’s one of the grandest and most unique park entrances I’ve ever seen, just really nice.
The park had a nice clean aesthetic with minimal theming scattered around where appropriate, it was also fairly easy to navigate. Operations were absolutely super across the entire park with all coasters running full capacity with minimal queues; Vortex for example was still running three trains even though it was walk-on. Just amazing.
I did find the atmosphere seemed to lack but I’m not sure if this is just because it was a quiet day; the park felt quite flat and soulless which may have been more noticeable due to the charm and vibrance of the two parks we had visited previously (Kennywood and Cedar Point). Kings Island may have just been “normal” rather than particularly dull.
One thing to mention is that the Eiffel Tower is a fantastic feature and the view from the top is stunning, definitely make time for this if you visit IMO.
Onto the ride reviews;
Banshee is a relatively new B&M inverted coaster and much larger than the others I have ridden, whilst also featuring the vest restraints. This ride seems to receive a fair amount of criticism from enthusiasts but I’m really not sure why, I thought it was brilliant.
The ride is on a much larger scale to most B&M inverts so you miss the quick changes and transitions, but the sheer force of this thing was incredible. At the bottom of every drop or inversion you hit a dip which just had the most incredible sensation of speed and power, the helixes were great and I just thought it was a fantastic ride overall.
My only criticism is that the heartline roll was awkward and didn’t fit in with the rest of the ride at all. If it wasn’t for that, Banshee would be my favourite of the B&M inverts.
This is the park’s Arrow Dynamics multi-looper and I was excited (and slightly nervous) to see how it rode after hearing lots of different things.
I found the ride to be smoother than I expected, but there were a few interesting transitions and moments of discomfort; with that said, I found it much more comfortable than, for example, Colossus, and the moments of roughness feel like part of the ride’s character rather than a negative.
The batwing element in particular was insane and produced some very good forces.
I was aware of The Beast’s legendary status before riding, but had very mixed expectations. I absolutely love rides like this, that are a bit different from the ordinary formula, with The Ultimate being one of my favourite UK coasters as an example.
The Beast unfortunately is let down by harsh trim brakes on almost every single hill. The disappointment upon hitting the first set of brakes was huge because the ride was just picking up speed and starting to throw us around like a wild runaway mine cart. I’d go as far as to say it’s an absolute disgrace that a coaster with as much potential as The Beast is completely and utterly ruined by awful trim brakes dotted everywhere around the layout. Every time we picked up speed, we’d be slowed down almost to a standstill, meaning that moments which would have been relentless and intense were merely “okay.” Such a disappointment.
With that said, there was one amazing moment on The Beast. The helix in the tunnels after the second drop were incredible and one of my favourite moments on any coaster anywhere. If the rest of the ride was allowed to run at full speed, I’d imagine that’s how most of it would feel. Unfortunately, as it is allowed to run it’s a very long one-trick wonder which did nothing but frustrate me at the thought of what could have been.
My expectations for Diamondback had diminished somewhat after riding Nitro a few days prior, but I was still looking forward to seeing how it compared and my first experience of the more unique seating position.
Diamondback felt soulless and boring, devoid of any character or variation. The ride feels almost too smooth with no stand-out moments, I hardly got any airtime over the hills and even the splashdown wasn’t noticeable from on-ride. The Arrow hyper-coasters are, IMO, far superior to this and Nitro.
Definitely the best of the Arrow suspended coasters I’ve done; the drops were bigger meaning there was much more swing on the corners.
Not a favourite, but the best example of its type that I’ve ridden.
A very fun classic wooden roller coaster with a good amount of airtime, interaction with the other side and each of the two tracks had a slightly different layout.
The ride felt slightly bumpier than the other classic wooden coasters we rode in America, but nothing that took away from the ride experience too much.
Just pure quality, top tier GCI from start to finish. I love what this manufacturer has done with wooden coasters, keeping the frantic out-of-control nature of them the same whilst improving comfort and adding in some crazily banked turns.
One of my favourite rides at Kings Island, though I wasn’t sure why we were left sat in a shed listening to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of The Heart” for almost 2 minutes. Made for a good karaoke at least!
Not as painful as it looked, though the restraints were poor with no room to move your head at all; my ears literally felt clamped between the cushions.
Woodstock Express was a hidden gem at Kings Island, a classic wooden coaster with some brilliant moments of airtime.
Unfortunately, in a recurring theme at Kings Island, they decided to ruin the last section by slowing the ride down almost to a standstill with a trim brake.
Backlot Stunt Coaster
Strange upwards helix followed by a mediocre layout and predictable fire effect, not a favourite.
Flying Ace Aerial Chase
Ouch. Very uncomfortable for a family coaster.
A fantastic Arrow mine train with the signature strange transitions and added themed lift-hill back to the station. Very fun.
Flight of Fear
Wow, this ride was incredible. The themed queue-line was fantastic and the ride surprised me in every way. Bearing in mind I had no idea what it would do before boarding, I was left almost speechless and thoroughly enjoyed it. Brilliant coaster.
White Water Canyon
From the ridiculously big waves to staff members using the controls to trap us in the path of huge water jets on more than one occasion, I felt as though I’d jumped in the sea, then ridden Valhalla before standing under a cold shower for 10 minutes.
Overall, Kings Island was a nice park with good presentation and superb operations. There was just one main issue I had; the rides. I felt underwhelmed by most of the coasters, and those which could have been good were ruined with trims. The atmosphere also felt flat, but as mentioned above this could be due to other factors such as tiredness and/or enjoying the two previous parks hugely. I wouldn’t advise against visiting Kings Island by any means, it was a good park just not a stand-out for me.