Kings Dominion 2018 Highlights [Video / Photo Gallery]
It had been quite a few years since we last visited Kings Dominion amusement park near Richmond, Virginia, a bygone era before our 11-year-old, Ozzie, had stepped into (and was tall enough for) the wild new world of the bigger attractions, so when a new coaster was announced for 2018, we knew it was time to return.
Kings Dominion is where I started my love affair with roller coasters at around the same age my son is now, and I couldn’t wait to finally get Ozzie on their classic wooden monsters Rebel Yell (now known as Racer ’75) and Grizzly, but what we were all most anticipating was the park’s newest ride, Twisted Timbers, a wood-steel hybrid coaster that is actually a far more intense upgrade of the original Hurler woody that was in its place until last year. And it did not disappoint.
Upon entering the park gates, we immediately headed for Twisted Timbers, where we stood in line for about 20 minutes before hopping on for a ferociously fun ride. The wait time was not bad at all, especially considering it was the longest we stood in line for anything all day. The ride itself is truly an entirely new beast, baring only the slightest resemblance to its former incarnation as the Hurler. It lived up to its name, its steel tracks twisting and turning sharply through its wooden frame. We all loved it.
After getting a Twisted start to our day, we next hopped on the neighboring Apple Zapple (formerly known as Ricochet), a mousetrap style single-car coaster with a plunging first drop and fear inducing turns atop a track that is virtually invisible when looking down on either side, creating a feeling that the car is about to tip over at any moment.
Next was Grizzly, a traditional wooden coaster that is as terrifyingly shaky as it is fast. It was a little too bumpy for Oz, but I appreciate and actually love the added thrill of feeling like it could jump off the track. It’s a woody for hardcore woody fans.
By this time, we needed to cool off, so we took a refreshing ride on the Shenandoah Lumber Company log flume, and then got really soaked in the raging river rapids of White Water Canyon. Ozzie then took Sue for a flight on board one of the Flying Eagles, which he enjoyed having the ability to steer, as the breeze helped dry them off.
Then it was time for the classic Racer ’75, which I will always refer to by its former name of Rebel Yell, a twin track, one with a blue train and one with red, with airtime hill after airtime hill for what seems like a mile before turning around for another run of airtime hills. It is awesome in its simplicity, and Ozzie loved it. We rode it numerous times, on both tracks, including the front and back seats, and most times we did not even have to wait in line at all, walking right up and getting on the coaster.
Earlier, when we picked up our tickets upon arrival, for the first time we opted for the All Day Dining deal for $30, which includes one entree of your choice every 90 minutes, and we found that if one person in your group gets the meal deal and if you keep track of your time, one entree is more than enough to keep everyone snacked up but still relatively light on your feet. Sue was in charge of keeping track of each 90 minute interval and deciding what meal we would get at what time based on its proximity to whatever ride we were about to get on.
This worked great for the three us, as we were never hungry and yet never too full to keep moving, and by the second snack, the dining deal has already paid for itself. We especially liked the pot roast from the Country Kitchen restaurant.
We also opted to get one of the souvenir cups, worth the extra money when you take advantage of the free refills all day long, which we certainly did. And while it can be a bit of a hassle at times taking the cup onto rides or leaving it at the queue line, it is a cool memento to take home that will remind you of the great times you had at the park.
Fueled up on tasty food, Backlot Stunt Coaster was a total blast, while the underwater-tunneled Anaconda was bit too jerky for Oz’s liking. From there, the indoors sci-fi themed launch coaster Flight of Fear took us to space and back, and the only trackless bobsled coaster on the continent, Avalanche, was fast and smooth, with Ozzie allowed to ride in a car all by himself.
We even took a spin on the smaller Halloween-themed Great Pumpkin Coaster (which was officially Ozzie’s first coaster many years ago) and a mini version of Racer ’75 called Woodstock Express (originally called Scooby-Doo and later Scooby-Doo’s Ghoster Coaster), which brought back more childhood nostalgia for me. And we just had to revisit another favorite from Ozzie’s younger years at the park, the interactive dark ride Boo Blasters on Boo Hill (formerly Scooby-Doo’s Haunted Mansion).
But it was Dominator, the world’s longest floorless roller coaster that features five inversions and one of the largest vertical loops ever, that proved to be Ozzie’s favorite. As soon was got off Dominator the first time, Ozzie was ready to ride it again, this time in the front seat, and then again in the back seat, which he determined is the best seat on the coaster.
The park’s only two coasters we didn’t ride, Volcano was not open on the day we visited and Ozzie decided to save the towering Intimidator 305 for next year.
Overall, wait times for the rides were minimal to none, service in the restaurants was quick and friendly, and the thrills were unbeatable, as we had an absolutely fantastic day at Kings Dominion.
You can watch some highlights from our adventure at Kings Dominion, including Ozzie’s reactions after riding many of the park’s roller coasters for the first time, in the video below, and then scroll down to view our photo gallery.
(Click an image to enlarge and view in gallery browser.)
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