Some friends from Six Flags joined my girlfriend and I for a weekend trip to Virginia. Originally we were only visiting Busch Gardens, but they surprised me by taking me to Kings Dominion on the last day! My parents took me to Busch Gardens probably over 10 years ago, but this was my first time on any of the coasters. This was also my first time to Kings Dominion.
Day One: Busch Gardens (7/11/14)
We left at 5am Friday morning, and arrived at Busch Gardens around 11am. I really like their biometric scanner system better than Six Flags' system. It still takes a couple seconds to scan everything, but they can have quite a few gates/scanners open (perhaps 10) with only about 2 employees. It's like a self check-in!
One we got in, we put our stuff in a "locher" and rode Loch Ness Monster. (See what I did there? ) Side Note: I like their lockers--they're old fashioned with tokens and keys, but they're still $1 with no time limit! Loch Ness Monster was strangely about a 25 minute wait, while the other coasters that day were 2-10 minute waits. On the queue TVs they had some advertisements for their Roller Coaster Insider tour, which I already knew about and signed up for weeks before. I wish Great Adventure would do a coaster tour like Busch Gardens.
Loch Ness Monster was pretty good for its age and being an Arrow coaster. The lift motor struggles to pull the train up, especially at the bottom of the lift. I thought the downward helix would never end. haha
Next, we kept the locker and made a full circle around the park. (In case you don't know, the layout basically consists of a single path that loops around in a circle) Next we got in line for Griffon and waited for the front row. The front row was my favorite because of how far you hang off the holding brake. I believe we rode again in the back row right after.
Alpengeist was next, with only a 1 train wait. We rode the back row, which was definitely quite intense at some points. It's so much better than Batman, but I don't enjoy inverted coasters that much.
I haven't seen many pictures or any videos of Verbolten, so I had no idea what to expect. It was a pretty cool coaster, especially the drop. My only two complaints are that it's too hot in the building and I grey out on the upward helix.
Last, but not least, Apollo's Chariot! The 5 people I went with are all ride operators/attendants at Nitro, so they kept calling it Nitro. xD It was pretty good, but not as enjoyable as Nitro. The straight parts were really weird and ruined the fluidity of the coaster.
Somewhere in there we also rode the Carousel and Mach Tower. After that we left for lunch (Wawa down the street!!) and checked into our hotel. I won't bore you with the rest of our trip, but we basically rode the coasters some more at night and sort of saw their super-short fireworks show from behind the trees.
Day Two: Busch Gardens & Coaster Tour (7/12/14)
On Saturday, my girlfriend and I got up early to do the Roller Coaster Insider Tour. The others didn't want to do it. (I highly recommend doing it) We had to arrive by 8:15am for early entry. The tour was extremely awesome, and our tour guides were awesome as well. (JP, Marissa, & Sarah) We toured the maintenance buildings for Loch Ness Monster, Griffon, and Alpengeist. We also went inside the operator booths for Griffon, Verbolten, and Apollo's Chariot. At each ride, we got to skip the line for 2 rides in whichever rows we wanted. At the end of the tour, we were given Quick Queues to ride each coaster again. We went inside Verbolten's building, but weren't allowed to take pictures.
With out a doubt, the highlight of the tour is getting to ride up to the top of Griffon's 210 foot lift hill. Walking around up there was awesome. I've always wanted to walk up a coaster lift and be at the top.
After the tour, we wandered around then left again for lunch. Later that night, we returned to ride some more coasters and use the Quick Queues, as the lines were a bit longer. We ended the night watching Griffon's splashdown.
Busch Gardens Conclusion
The park is absolutely beautiful, and the detail in the theming is outstanding. It's definitely one of my favorite parks. Unfortunately, my group didn't want to watch any shows or eat in the park, so I did miss out on a lot of the park.
Day Three: Kings Dominion (7/13/14)
My girlfriend surprised me by stopping at Kings Dominion on the drive home. We only spent 6 hours at the park, but I managed to get every coaster credit except their kiddie coaster, the Great Pumpkin Coaster. (Formerly Taxi Jam)
Below is a run-down of my thoughts on each ride, in the order we rode them.
-Intimidator 305 was pretty amazing, although I almost passed out the second time on it. (Probably should have stood up before re-riding lol)
-Volcano had the longest line, but it was worth it.
-Avalanche was my second bobsled coaster (I rode Flying Turns last weekend). They're interesting rides, although I liked Flying Turns better because of how you get thrown up the side of the curves more.
-Anaconda was good; I like classic Arrows for some reason. My girlfriend hurt her jaw by knocking it into the OTSR.
-I think the Back Lot Stunt coaster didn't have some of the effects on, although I have no idea.
-Shockwave- never again. It was hilarious that their test seat at the entrance was literally just the bike seat on a pole, no restraints.
-Hurler - see wooden coaster comments
-Ricochet: Great to have a unique mouse layout. I think I've only ridden the same TDK clones over and over again.
-Rebel Yell - see wooden coaster comments
-Grizzly - everyone was warning about this death trap, but it wasn't bad at all. Rolling Thunder was 20x worse.
-Fight of Fear - The theming was nice, but I was disappointed there was really no theming elements in the actual coaster room.
-Dominator - Not much to say, it's a typical smooth B&M xD
-Woodstock Express - I barely fit on this coaster, but it was a great midsized coaster for kids.
Kings Dominion Conclusion
This was actually my first Cedar Fair park, and I am quite impressed. I barely got on all the coasters in 6 hours, and we didn't spend much time doing anything else. Besides coasters,I rode Drop Tower, Windseeker, and drank probably 20 cups of water. (It was hot!)
Busch Gardens Logo
Security bag check
Park entrance building
First section: London!
Loch Ness Monster
London at night
The bridge on the man-made river
Loch Ness Monster at Night
Griffon at Night
Fireworks behind Alpengeist
This is an awesome ride!
This looked nice. I think it's a dinner and a show.
Didn't get to see the show
Day Two (Coaster Tour!)
Inside Loch Ness Monster's maintenance building
I think I found the Loch Ness Monster inside the Loch Ness Monster's maintenance building..
Arrow Dynamics wheel!
Some pieces from Big Bad Wolf
The maintenance building is underneath the station
What we rode to the top. It has seats and seat belts!
Anheuser Busch Brewery
That's a lot of blue..
In the Griffon maintenance shed. Wheels!
In Griffon's operator booth.
We're in the front row still! (Green shirt!)
Still in the front row! lol
The well that pumps water into the log flume every morning.
Alpengeist's maintenance shed
Riding Alpengeist. The people next to us were also on the tour and also from NJ!
They're entering the black forest!!
In Verbolten's operator booth.
In Verbolten's operator booth, looking down at the station
Verbolten's hilariously huge E-Stop buttons
Riding Apollo's Chariot
Operator panel for Apollo's Chariot
Self-serve ticket kiosks on the left and entrance on the right.
I wish we had blue skies for my pictures. The sky was completely white behind i305, but there was some blue sky in other places/directions.
It was also their 40th birthday. They had a cake!!
They even had a special sign for their birthday!
My friends on i305. This is a screenshot of a video, so the quality is poor.
I barely fit on Woodstock Express. I thought the train looked small!
I have some GIFs for you!
Busch Gardens Video!
Kings Dominion video may or may not be coming soon.