I found myself at Kings Island this past Saturday for my first Halloween Haunt experience. Yes, this was my first time at a Cedar Fair park during the Halloween season. Six Flags’ Fright Fest was primarily all that I had known before this weekend. The precedent was set.
The crew arrived at the park about 30 minutes prior to opening. Although the emptiness of the parking lot may have been deceiving to some, anyone who has been to a theme park’s Halloween event knows that the crowd level increases exponentially as the day progresses.
The park’s skyline is still partially dominated by Son of Beast which is currently being dismantled (read: torn down).
It didn’t take long for the Halloween decorations to make an appearance. Kings Island is a big park, and I can’t recall any areas of the park that didn’t include some sort of Halloween decor.
Awaiting the park to open, we took the opportunity to grab a few shots of and from the Eiffel Tower.
© Mike Shaul
We began the day with a ride on Diamondback. The coaster stands 23 stories tall and reaches speeds of 80 mph.
Although the coaster does take riders a good distance away from the main path during the first half of the ride, the second half of the layout offers some excellent photograph opportunities.
© Mike Shaul
I was surprised by how much of Son of Beast was still standing. I even overheard some guests asking what it was and if it was open. I was glad that I could pay my final respects to the coaster’s towering lift hill and first drop.
To someone not familiar with the park, it was hard to tell that the coaster was being torn down (unless you saw where the track ended).
I look forward to finding out what the park has planned for this area of the park. It’s very quiet.
Vortex is a classic. It may not be as smooth as Diamondback, but it still packs a (mostly bearable) punch.
Who can deny the beauty of an Arrow?
It wouldn’t be a trip to Kings Island without a ride on the Beast. Luckily, the ride was just as incredible as I remember it being two years ago. It truly is a legend among wooden roller coasters.
I really enjoyed Flight Deck. I think part of why I enjoy it so much is because I know that there are so few of these types of coasters left in the world.
Also, its secluded location in the park usually makes for tolerable lines.
I’m hopeful that the coaster will remain open for years to come.
Perhaps the only real disappoint of the day (besides the long lines) was waiting nearly an hour for Invertigo only for it to break down before we were able to board. The group determined that it was not worth risking more time to wait out the downtime. Sadly, the coaster was closed during my last visit in 2010 so I’ve yet to be able to check Invertigo off of my list.
Although I didn’t ride Drop Tower during this trip, seeing it in action brought back vivid memories of the first time I rode it (and that was enough for me).
As the day progressed, the lines for most of the major attractions grew significantly in length. Most lines for the popular rides were in the 90-120 minute range.
I was pleasantly surprised by the balance of family-friendly and “scary” Halloween decor.
T-Rex was even dressed appropriately for the Halloween season.
Sadly, Windseeker was still closed.
One of the longest waits of the day was for Firehawk. It’s a fun ride, but I’m still partial to the B&M flyers.
Racer makes for a great backdrop to the Coney Mall area.
I still haven’t had the chance to ride Adventure Express. As the line was spilling out onto the midway, we decided it would be best to save it for another trip.
The setting sun made for a great silhouette shot of Diamondback.
The clouds began to roll in the latter portion of the afternoon. I think clouds are a necessity for any Halloween event. It makes for a more spooky atmosphere.
This filtered Instagram photo makes Son of Beast look like something out of a horror movie.
The group didn’t want to sacrifice any coaster-riding time to wait for any of the haunts. But judging from the bloodcurdling coming from within, I think they did the job.
There was definitely no shortage of fog once the sun began to set. In some areas of the park it the visibility dwindled to a few feet. I wasn’t complaining.
Unfortunately my camera charge did not make it through the 13 hours we spent at the park, but I was thoroughly impressed with the park’s decorations that were illuminated after the sun set.
I think everyone in the group agreed that nighttime rides on the Beast and Diamondback were spectacular ways to conclude the 13-hour day.
As we exited the park at 1:30 a.m., the “ghouls” were congregated near the front of the park assuring that guests were scared out of the park swiftly. It was quite a spectacle to watch.
The near-perfect weather and extended hours made for a “perfect storm” of crowds, but I was impressed with how the Kings Island staff handled the influx of guests. All of the employees I encountered were friendly, even after midnight.
Overall, it was an excellent way to spend a mild October day.