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Kings Island

Kings Island
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Kings Island is a great place to spend a hot Summer day in a swimsuit. Soak City, the newly named official waterpark, has its own entrance, or you can ride back and forth between it and the main park (both covered by a single admission) via the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad. The main park has three water rides : the boat plunge, log flume and white water rafting river. All three guarantee to get you wet. Soak City features seven challenging adult rides plus the wave pool and a small lazy river. There are also several play areas and slides for children. This gives you a total of 10 adult water rides and lots to do for the kiddies. Soak City is the third ranking water park in the Midwest behind only Holiday World and Noah's Ark.
Congo Falls is oh so close to being to boat plunges what the Jackrabbit is to roller coasters. As you can see at left, the plunge actually has a mid drop pause, creating a double dip which can actually lift you out of your seat. It is the only boat plunge in the country with this feature. Unfortunately, when they bought new boats, they forgot to match the new boat lengths with the curvature of the track. The new boats are too long so they ride over the dip. You still get a little of the effect, but not nearly as much as you would feel were the boats shorter. This is not as high or steep as most of its rivals across the Midwest so without the full double dip it is not competitive.
The whitewater rafting run, named Whitewater Canyon, is a scenic cruise through Kings Island's beautiful hundred acre forest. Almost all of these rides are artificially landscaped with concrete rocks and plastic trees, so the natural topography of this one is refreshing. The loading of these is a notorious bottleneck but the use of the rotating circular platform solves that. This one lacks the intensity and excitement of Kennywood's, with its steeper terrain, various waterfalls and frequent sharp turns, but it easily beats all the other Midwestern parks. A very relaxing ride for a hot afternoon.

The Arrow log flume, officially known as Race For Your Life Charlie Brown, is a pleasant cruise through the forest with the usual climb and drop at the end. We thought the previous theming, featuring the Wild Thornberry Family, was a better fit, since in their TV adventures they were always exploring wild areas. However, this is a good ride, fairly smooth, with comfortable "logs," and good length. We rank this second in the Midwest behind the classic at Kennywood, which has three lift hills, keeps you at treetop most of the time, and is generally considered the best in the country.

Tasmanian Typhoon is the classic Proslide Funnel, certainly one of the greatest water rides in existence. You ride a four person raft through an enclosed tunnel, then suddenly drop very steeply and rapidly into a huge funnel with enough speed to take you up and around the sides several times before you straighten out and drop through the hole in the bottom (see photo above right). Kings Island adds a twist to this one by redirecting the water jets in the funnel so they create extra turbulence. This means rather than a smooth circling of the funnel you bump across the churning water. This is the second best version of this ride in the Midwest, behind only Holiday World.

Down Under Thunder is a four track body slide. We don't especially like these, much preferring to be on a sled or in an inner tube, but this is a good one. The ride ops tell everyone to keep their arms and ankles crossed, which of course no one does. Everyone steers and brakes with their feet and balances with their arms. We prefer the one at Kennywood because the runs are longer and you drop into short pools at the one third and two third points, but this is definitely second.

Snowy River Rampage is a standard rafting run but it's a good one. It's shorter than some of the others but steeper and faster with sharper turns. We think this is the second best rafting run in the Midwest, behind the one at Holiday World.
Sidewinder is the Kings Island version of the classic inner tube run. This is a good one, which takes advantage of the terrain for a long high speed descent. The ride op at the top gives you a choice of going down forward or backward and despite the twists and turns, you really do end up the same way she starts you. The top is open the whole way down, but the sides are high, and with good reason, because coming around the constant turns you'll find yourself climbing rather far up one, then the other. You can steer and brake with your feet but you can only slow down so much. We think this is the best inner tube run in the Midwest.
Coolongatta Racer is a racing slide on steroids. They all put you on a rubber racing sled where you lay facing front and hold on with handgrips. The twist here is you begin the ride by dropping into an enclosed tube for a complete circle of the platform before emerging to a steep 54 foot drop and long runout. It only offers four lanes, half of the usual number for racing slides, but it's a heck of a race. If you can take first place two out of three runs, you've definitely earned bragging rights. The inside two lanes, heavier riders, and legs tucked against your butt gain a slight edge, but there's skill involved, and it takes practice. Every park offers a racing slide, but not like this. It's the best in the Midwest.
We think Pipeline is the most unique water ride in the country. A powerful pump shoots a stream of water across an uphill sheet of smooth plastic. You climb aboard a short surfboard, which surfers call a bodyboard or boogie board, and launch down this wave. If you have a good sense of balance and reasonable reflexes, you can achieve a balance and ride the wave, as seen at left. If you lose your balance the water flushes you up the hill and into a deeper groove, which washes you around and out of the ride. With some practice, at the ocean or right here at Boomerang Bay, you can become skilled enough to perform spin moves and other acrobatics. Kings Island's version of the ride features three slots, so three surfers at once can try their luck. It's as much fun for the audience as for the riders. There's a small bleachers, or you can stand along the fence and watch the fun. This ride is a treasure and helps Soak City achieve its third place ranking.
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