Thursday, April 1, 2010

Scott And Carol Present: The Bar Has Been Raised To 305 ft. at Kings Dominion

The tallest and fastest roller coaster in the southeast opened today at Kings Dominion. Intimidator 305, the bigger brother to Intimidator, turned out not to be an April fool’s joke after all.

Train after train of cheering riders went back around to ride again. The park has a big success on their hands, and high expectations for the start of another season.

Rob Decker, Corporate Vice President, Planning & Design for Cedar Fair, had some interesting things to say. “The scale and intensity of this mega coaster is a nice compliment to the total park offering at Kings Dominion. “We identified this type of investment strategy when contemplating the acquisition of the Paramount Parks."

"The only question was what to put in, and when. We believe installing this ride for 2010 fulfilled our long term strategic goals, and notwithstanding the unforeseen economic downturn, we pushed ahead hoping to realize an investment strategy that could pay off well - longer term.”

Rob’s crew developed the outstanding theming that illustrates the legacy of Dale Earnhardt. All of his victories are documented, and another panel with the overhead view of the ride shows the track layout. While the theming looks similar, there are subtle differences from Carowinds. You can even sign the tribute wall.

Sandor Kernacs, President of IntaRide, offers these thoughts. “We wanted to build a ride that would give riders the feeling of riding with Dale Earnhardt in car #3."

"It was a long winter, with record snowfalls that turned into over two feet of mud. The Adena Corporation worked many long days to get their cranes in the correct spots to assemble the ride.”

The staging area in the parking lot is now bare, for the first time in over a year. But finally the much anticipated media day has arrived. The weather was perfect, no clouds, over 80 degrees, and only a slight breeze.

Many people wondered about the double pipe under the track. “This allows us to use only one support tower which makes it look more impressive. It’s only appropriate for a coaster named Intimidator 305,” said Kernacs. “We wanted to do something different but the narrow towers make it look even higher.” The coaster towers over the Kings Dominion, especially when you realize it is located at the rear of the park.

Many of the VIP’s were introduced, but Kerry and Taylor Earnhardt, Dale’s children, received the loudest applause. Taylor said she would ride, but she was more nervous after seeing the completed ride. She said “Dad would have loved seeing all these smiling faces. He really enjoyed making people smile.”

Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania Bill Bowling had proudly offered up his wife to ride at the announcement back in 2009, but she declined to attend. He however, refused to ride it in her place. He did declare that “Virginia if for lovers of roller coasters,” which makes him a good guy in our book. The First Rider auction raised over $20,000 that was shared between four charities.

After the surge of riders slowed to where you could overhear the comments, everybody seemed to love Intimidator 305. The word “airtime” figured strongly, with adjectives like “monster” and “ejector” thrown in to define it properly.

“Constant changes of direction” also was heard several times. The turn by the station carries riders along at 80 mph and pulls several positive G’s. As defined by Kernacs, “This is a rider’s ride and is the most aggressive we have done to date. We wanted to really thrill the riders, and we hope we have done that.”

For those who like numbers, Intimidator 305 is 305 feet tall and you are going 94 mph at the bottom of the 300 feet, 84 degree first drop. Two of the riders talked about how you don’t spend much time at the top of the lift so you have to look around before you go over.

More numbers, the lift hill speed is 30 fps which is over four times faster than a regular lift chain. “This allows more riders to enjoy the ride,” per Kernacs, “A regular lift chain would take two minutes to climb the hill and not add to the experience.”

According to Mr. Kernacs, the difference in speed between a full train and an empty one is five mph, but the empty trains for this ride will be few and far between for quite some time. The general consensus is “I need one more ride” according to the riders we talked to at the event. The massive airtime hill next to the station illustrated the change in speed due to the mass of the train, it clocked 5 mph slower without any people.

If you feel the need for speed, this is your ride. The air pushes your face back with intensity and the combination of strong G’s in the curves low to the ground increase the sensation of speed. The nearly 90 degree banked turns simulated the feel of a high-banked racetrack taken at speed. Some of the transitions reinforce the directions to hold on to the black handle bars because they are hard to anticipate unless you’re riding the front seat.

Kings Dominion has a winner, and the skyline reflects the changes as they start the new decade. The only way to understand Intimidator 305 is to ride it, but it will take more than one ride to make sure you fully understand.


Rian said...

Looks overrated to me, but just my thoughts.

NewsPlusNotes said...

I don't know, I wasn't there but a lot of really well traveled and experienced enthusiasts are singing the ride's praises.