When I lived in Ohio, Kings Island was my second home. Even when we moved from house to house and I changed schools, KI was always there and changing but in a way that didn’t change too much at once. I hadn’t been since 2014 when Banshee was brand new and I was really excited to try the handful of new coasters the park had added as well as get on some old favorites.
After a pretty smooth flight, I got into Cincinnati a little after 11am, grabbed my Fast Lane Plus (which ended up being a lifesaver - most of the big rides had full queues whereas FL+ was a walk on or station wait) and headed straight over to one of my favorite coasters.
Yes, I’m well aware that DB is far from the best coaster of all time, actually most enthusiasts don’t even rank it in the top B&M hypers. Well, I’m different. This ride was the focus of the first year I lived in Ohio. I watched the construction, pondered over the teaser signs and even was front row for the announcement in August of 2008. I went to an offseason construction tour and rode the ride on opening day. And because of all of this history I have with the ride, it still lands in my top 10 list. So yeah, 6 years was way too long to go without riding.
First off, when did DB get seat belts??? The DB I remember from 2008-? had only that amazing B&M lap bar and gave some of the most free airtime ever. Well, with the seatbelt, you definitely still get some great airtime but it just feels a lot more restrictive. Plus, there’s a noticeable rattle throughout the course. Even with all of these changes from the DB I know and love, it’s still an awesome ride and one that I rerode multiple times throughout the day.
Mystic Timbers x2
Wow. What can I see about this awesome ride? I’d always heard that this was a great GCI but it exceeded my expectations. My first ride was in the back and I was amazed just how fast the ride felt and how much airtime it got throughout the course. It definitely felt like a different breed of GCIs than their traditional layouts and I’d like to see more of it. It was also smooth enough to be comfortable while still having a little bit of rumble to remind you you’re riding a wooden coaster. I suppose that I did know what the shed was going in and was able to adjust my expectations but I thought it was a cute little ending to the ride. I guess that if I was expecting some exotic element like a drop track, I would’ve been a lot more disappointed. My second ride of this mini session was towards the front where I was treated to a slightly less relentless but slightly more smooth ride. TBH, you can’t go wrong with either seat or anywhere on the train for that matter.
Here’s where I made use of my FL+ the best. Orion had a completely full queue and subsequently a wait of an hour or so. The FL+ was a walk on, letting me marathon it to my heart’s content, which in my case was 7 rides in a row. First, my thoughts on “is Orion a giga” debate: first, who cares? Second, my definition of giga is “a ride >= 200 feet tall or with a drop >= 200 feet” so yep, it’s a giga coaster.
The first drop is incredible, especially in the first row. I normally wear contacts to parks and this is the first ride that I’ve ridden that I’ve actually worried a little about losing my contacts on. The wave turn didn’t do a ton for me as did the turn around. The speed hill on the other hand was sublime. You get just launched out of your seat on it which is always fun. The rest of the ride is pretty unremarkable. I will say that the ride did feel short to the point of incompleteness. If I’m going to be completely honest I think this ride would rate higher than DB for me if Orion’s final brake run was just an MCBR and had 3 small airtime hills before hitting the real brake run. For whatever reason, that would add the extra handful of elements the ride needs. Maybe that makes it a little too similar to DB but I’m willing to make that trade off.
Even with that complaint, this ride is still an amazing one that ranks highly on my list of steel coasters and one I look forward to riding a lot the next time I come to KI.
I love these Intamin drop towers! They have some of the best drops of any towers. Also, maybe my memory is failing me but didn’t Drop Tower used to rotate on ascent? I really remember it rotating up the tower to give you views of the entire park: am I going crazy?
After riding Mystic a few more times, it was time to go get some pictures around the park. After doing that for a few hours, the sun was going down and it was time to get some of the night rides that KI is so famous for!
DB was first on my list. It’s a favorite ride of mine in the day and it’s better at night! Out into the woods is even better when it’s dark but it’s my least favorite night ride of the 3 that I did!
A Beast night ride is a classic tradition. When I lived in Columbus, I never really got a chance to do many since we’d always leave in time to make it back home before dark. So that made this ride extra sweet! And it delivered!! Outside of that surprisingly intense helix, Beast was always lacking in my eyes. Its layout kinda meanders without a point and when you can see where you’re going, it almost gets boring. But when it’s night time and you’re hurtling through the pitch black woods it feels even faster and out of control. This was an awesome ride I’m very glad I got to partake in!
The newest ride at Kings Island was my last ride of the night. I was curious how this would ride at night and I was not let down! After the first drop, the ride goes off towards the back of the park away from the light and you’re treated to a ride that isn’t quite as dark or fast feeling as Beast but better than DB. A great ride gets even better at night!
After Orion, I hustled to the front of the park where I had my tripod stored and brought it back to the Orion plaza right as fireworks started where I got some great shots! I ended up staying probably 15 minutes after close getting some shots of Orion at night.
And that was the end of my night at KI. I had an amazing time and it was so good to get back to this park that meant so much to me as I was in high school. Orion and Mystic Timbers were both great additions to the park that place fairly highly on my list of favorite coasters. It was 6 years since I had been to KI but I for sure won’t let that same amount of time pass before I go back next!