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Roller Coaster … Say What? King’s Dominion

I had the pleasure of going to King’s Dominion just north of Richmond, Virginia recently … what a treat all said and done. An extremely clean and enjoyable park, it helped balance my entertainment experiences that haven’t been all that great as of late — especially in Central Florida.

Of course, the first thing I encountered was the dreaded parking fee … this one at $25. I absolutely hate places charging to park. If I were “King,” that would be one of my first decrees — no charging for parking. But, after overcoming that “new” normal drudgery, I set off for a fun experience.

The first bit of advice is to buy your tickets online. For whatever reasons, at least when I went, the online costs to purchase tickets was exceptionally lower than at the gate. I paid $29 for an all-day military retiree pass versus a $59 rate at the gate. It was clear that I was going on a “slow” day as there were no lines to get into the park followed by little in the way of lines for any of the rides. Now, again, for someone that has endured some of the worst thrill ride lines you can imagine in Central Florida (think Disney and Universal), it was such a joy to be able to barely wait and, sometimes, get to re-ride a ride without having to get out of your seat. (I’m sure it is different during the summer months.)

Now, I have to tell you, however, in order to enjoy King’s Dominion, you have to enjoy roller coasters. There isn’t a lot of other types of adult rides other than roller coasters and, the bumper car ride was literally one minute in length — horrible. I took notice of some water-related rides but it was too cold to have them running. In fact, when we entered the park, we immediately were hit with signs that said the rides were limited due to manning shortages.

One thing I wish a lot of theme parks would get rid of is the cheap games-for-stuffed-animals … what a waste of money … and King’s Dominion had them all over the place. If you don’t allow yourself to get baited by that low-percentage gaming, then you will have more time to enjoy the attraction rides.

Like I mentioned, the place has a lot of roller coasters … at least 15 of them. If you take those away, there isn’t much for an adult to do; but, you will have a lot of fun with the roller coasters if you can handle them. My favorite was the Intimidator 305 — the coaster takes you up 305 feet almost straight up and then almost straight down before racing around, Dale Earnhardt like, through the rest of the ups, downs, and all-arounds. There are the old-style roller coasters and the newer-style … and a variety of different types … something for everyone. Because things are so roller-coaster dominating, I would highly recommend not bringing hats, glasses, purses etc into the park — they can become a hassle to deal with as the place stresses safety a lot — which is a good thing.

I would recommend eating before you arrive as their food costs are pretty pricey. They do have ample free-refill areas for those who like to have their favorite soft drink by their side. They also have named-brand eateries to pair up with their in-house local offerings. If you do plan to eat in the park, I would plan on spending about $17 per person for a sandwich, fries, and drink.

What a fun day … a day you can have too. Like I said, I don’t know what it might be like during the summer tourist’s months, but, I am giving a big thumb’s up to King’s Dominion during the month of March/April … go for a ride!

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