by Nick McAfee
It might be almost half a tank of gas away, but the high octane fun available at Kings Dominion is worth every drop of fuel burned to get there. There are some tricks for making Kings Dominion an amazing experience, so make sure you are in the know before you go.
Buying online is just smart. Not only do you get to skip the line when you get to the park, but buying tickets online is at least ten dollars cheaper. I say at least, because it is rare that you actually even have to pay the full $52 for an online ticket. By buying three days in advance, the price gets reduced to around $46. There is almost always a promo code to use for Kings Dominion as well, so it is quite common to get your ticket for about $32-36. Whatever the price, plan to stay all day. It is a huge park and there are a lot of great coasters.
When To Go
You want the weather to be sunny, but not too hot. While riding on coasters feels cool because of the speed, lines can feel even longer in the heat. I highly recommend going on Sunday. Sundays are usually less busy than the rest of the week, and they still offer plenty of time to explore all the park has to offer (10am to 10pm)
This is often considered dumb, but playing their game by buying the souvenir cup will make your experience at the park so much better. Like the most other amusement parks, Kings Dominion overcharges for everything once you get through the gates. A single bottle of soda or water from a vending machine will cost you $4. However the souvenir cup costs $9.99. As long as you drink at least three drinks, and in the heat of the southern sun you definitely will, you are actually saving! You can re-fill your cup with any Coca Cola product (includes Coke, Sprite, Fanta, and Powerade) as well as ice water. While it may seem like a hassle to be carrying a cup around, every coaster and ride has a set of storage units for storing the riders belongings. Simply put, to avoid heatstroke buy the cup.
There is no sinlge bad coaster at the park, although the wooden coasters tend to be a bit on the bumpy side (it’s part of their charm). From extreme coasters like the dominator, the volcano, and the intimidator 305 to wooden coasters like the grizzly, hurler, and rebel yell, this park has it all. The following is a quick review of my top five coasters at Kings Dominion.
This coaster is a throwback to the simple fun of the first wooden coasters. Nothing is too extreme, it’s an up and back ride with several nice drops and lots of shrieks from its riders. This is my favorite wooden coaster as it provides the smoothest ride without all of the shaking and bumping. It’s great fun and line is usually not too long.
The coaster is inside a building in the dark illuminated only in certain areas by strobe lights. I’ll wait a second while your mind recovers from being blown…
The setting is that of alien contact and it is the atmosphere more than the ride itself that makes this a must ride coaster. Without giving too much away, there is a long wandering line that snakes past aliens and a UFO which makes up for the long wait in the stuffy building.
It’s the type of coaster that you have to ride once, but probably wouldn’t feel the need to ride again.
The volcano would be higher on my list if it weren’t for the length of the line. I waited 40 minutes to ride the volcano, and it wasn’t even that busy a day.
The ride itself is quite the adrenaline rush. From a dead stand still, you are catapulted to about 79 mph in around 4 seconds, shooting into multiple inverts and twists and turns. It’s a fantastic ride and you feel quite safe in your seat as you twist and flip before coming back to earth. At night there is an added touch of extreme as the mountain shoots fire from its peak.
This ride is a lot of fun and although simple, there aren’t any inverts, is a lot of fun. The key to this ride is the experience. This coaster puts you in the role of a driver trying to avoid the law and flee your pursuers. The burst of fire in the middle is a great touch, and combining sound effects with real vehicles such as police cars makes it feel like a more authentic experience. Definitely worth a couple of rides as the line is usually incredibly short.
This coaster has it all: short lines, huge drops, lazy flips, high adrenaline, and pictures to see how crazy you look going 76 mph. The trick to riding the dominator is to not ride in the front. The line on the right of the stairs is solely for the four front seats whereas the line on the left is for all of the other seats on the coaster. You can ride in the back about two to three times per front ride, so if you like riding coasters multiple times go for the back.
**The intimidator 305 is not included in this list as the last time I was there it was closed for improvements – I believe a second set of cars is being added. Check out this video for an idea of what to expect once it reopens:
Although I didn’t stay late enough to see it, most nights the park does two shows each night, a pop music show at the foot of the parks 1/3 replica Eiffel Tower and a fireworks show over in the Grove.
And Much Much More
Checkout the Kings Dominion website for more rides, food options, and special events. The park also features a water park that is included with admission, so don’t forget to bring your bathing suit if you want to cool off. This park has all of the usual amenities from booth games to an arcade so even for those who are a bit afraid of coasters, there is plenty to do
The most important thing is to go with your family or your friends and have a great time at this great amusement park.