Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kings Dominion Trip Part 1

So we had a pretty great time at Kings Dominion on our long weekend trip. As you can see in the photo above, its transition away from Paramount is taking longer than at some of the other properties.

Kings Dominion opened in 1975, so it's one of the modern themers to be found in the U.S. It's fully grown in though, and provides a landscape that's tough to match at many other amusement parks, especially the pre-existing Cedar Fair parks.

Under the reign of Paramount, the park had many themed attractions added to it's line-up of rides and attractions. With Cedar Fair in control, the future of this park makes me nervous in this regard, but more about that later.

Some rides are lightly themed, some do not need more than their landscaping (forest, etc) as a theme, and some are rather highly themed, like Volcano. Either way, it was a nice break from the steel and concrete of my local park, Dorney.

This photo is from the entrance plaza, bordering the parking lot. I spy Cedar Fair flags! Actually, the entrance area is where most of the name changing took place. For instance, the signage in the area is standard Cedar Fair:

The outside entrance plaza may have Cedar Fair presence, but as soon as you pass though those metal detectors (eek?) the park's former owners can immediately be felt.

I don't know if it was Paramount or the original owners, but all those big trees that line the fountains in planters were added after the park opened. You can see the original here in a 1978 photo:

1978 Kings Dominion 1
© ejd1984 via Webshots

The buildings that line the fountain walkways were themed more than I expected. It was a very nice area to say the least. I'd seen pictures of the fountains before but I had no idea how big the trees were and how grown-in the area felt.

The fountains are so powerful that they actually add a roar to the area that provides atmosphere. That, and the Paramount theme music that they are (thankfully) still playing, makes the area even better.

One thing I did notice about the shops along this area: their selection of Kings Dominion merchandise stank - badly. They had a mix of Paramount and Post-Paramount shirts and things, but most amusement park staples were missing. I didn't see magnets, post cards, maps, mugs, etc., the common stuff. I went in all the stores, was it just me? They had plenty of character items though.

At the far end of the entrance area you can meet the Nicktoons, every day at 5 p.m. I did not see this mini-show so I have no idea what it's about aside from serving as a meet'n'greet. We did have our picture taken with SpongeBob, but I'll keep that photo for myself.

Phew, I'm making this more elaborate than I wanted. I'll actually cover some rides in part 2. Promise.


Judy P in Pgh said...

I'm heading down to Busch Gardens, VA this week, but can't squeeze in King's Dominion. That's on the agenda for next month when I'll travel with a different group. I'd love to get your input on which rides to catch first thing in the morning or any other tips for King's Dominion. I ride EVERYTHING! Glad you had a great trip!