Building Suspense

In our never ending quest to take our children on as many adventures as possible we headed up to Kings Dominion today. As a child of Virginia I have been to Kings Dominion through three or four of its iterations. I went to it when it still had Hannah Barbara Land and the Safari tram, I went to it when it was Paramount’s Kings Dominion with Wayne’s World and Days of Thunder, I went to it in some strange time when it wasn’t owned by anyone or anyone I know of and had a Tom Raider Ride that no longer exists and no one remembers, and I have been to it in its Cedar Fair era where it has four rides over 300 feet tall.

It was fun to see the park again and to see how much has changed and how much hasn’t. Somethings are frozen in time while others have ceased to exist entirely. The midway area of the park was playing 50’s music like it was still the 90’s and the 50’s was still 40 years ago instead of much further in the past. It was like nothing had moved. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company from the Paramount days was renamed to Outer Hanks a weird play on the Outer Banks and Tom Hanks and the rides played licensed music from the shows or movies they were based on while being stripped of everything else.

What was fun is I finally got to ride Intimidator 305. A ride I wanted to ride when it first opened in 2010 but never did and then kept not going or having little interest in going to Kings Dominion and so this desire got forgotten and fell to the wayside. Today, though, I got to ride the ride and it was fun but it didn’t feel special. It is 100 feet higher than any ride I have been on and it should have felt like something I had never ridden before, but it didn’t.

It felt no different than Apollo’s Chariot or Superman The Ride of Steel. I have been thinking on this and I have come to a couple conclusions. First it Intimidator goes from pushing uphill immediately into the drop. There is no slight turn like on Apollo’s Chariot or a complete pause like on Griffin. It goes up and then it goes down. The train never stops moving and so the descent is much faster and over sooner than it should be.

Also by going straight into the drop riders never get to experience just how high up they are. There is that moment on Griffin where the rider is staring at the beer factory and the entirety of Busch Gardens. You feel the height and anticipate the drop. It would be like if a person you’re most attracted to walked up to you and asked if you wanted to go to bed. No anticipation, no eyes meeting across the room and the electric pull of attraction. Simply, hey there, let’s go sleep together. It might be fun but it wouldn’t be thrilling. The anticipation is as good or better than the drop and it is necessary to make the drop worth it.

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