Cincinnati Vacation Part 1
Alright. As many of you know, myself, my fiancee, as well as my nephew drove out to Cincinnati for our summer vacation. My family reunion was on July 3, so we planned our vacation to coincide with that. Every year, up until I was 16, my family would drive to Cincinnati for our summer vacation. This was my first trek out there since 2003. My fiancee had never been to Ohio before, so this was new territory for her, and we had a blast.
I don’t have any pictures since we left until our second day. But I will tell you about the shady motel we stayed in for less than four hours on our first day in Cincinnati. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Reading/Sharon area of Cincinnati, but this place had potential as a crime scene. The last time I had stayed in this motel dates back to 1997…and alot has changed! We needed some rest, so we checked in to the Drake Motel. We watched some tv and slept for a couple of hours. When we woke up, we were hungry, so we decided to hit up White Castle. Now, while we do have White Castle restaurants in New York state, we do not have one within 3+ hour drive of our house. I will state that a White Castle cheeseburger from a White Castle restaurant is a million times better than the frozen variety found at the super market.
After we ate, we went to my Aunt Liz and Uncle Bill’s house. We were hanging out and having some drinks with a few of my cousins, and the subject of where we were staying came up. We informed them we were staying at the Drake, and they had a few things to tell us about this place. My cousin Billy informed us that on average this place gets robbed twice a week. He also told us, at night, people will aproach you for “favors” or hit you up for crack. Lastly, he told us that it wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to kick in our room’s door and rob us. Needless to say, we grabbed a few of our cousins, went to the motel, retrieved our belongings and got the hell out of there! My nephew, Victor, stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house and myself and my fiancee stayed in a better part of town at a Red Roof Inn. We slept a whole lot better!
After a good night’s sleep, we showered, picked up Victor and headed for King’s Island. Being that we went to Cincinnati every year, you can probably guess I came here every year as well.
We had printed our tickets online at home a couple of days before we left New York. By doing this, we saved 16 bucks a ticket! We headed to the front gate to enter the day of fun that awaited us.
We arrived at a little after 12 noon, and being that we didn’t eat before we left, we sought to find a place to grab some lunch. We opted for the Juke Box Diner. A lunch for three cost us almost 40 bucks! We bought a 46 ounce souvenir cup for $9.99, because we could share it and refills around the park were $1.99. Here’s the cup at home now, and at it’s former home at King’s Island.
(sorry, that’s the only pic I have of the cup in the park)
Being that we just ate, I suggested that we wait a little while before we started riding the coasters. So we opted to go on the dark ride Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. The last time I was on this ride it was Phantom Theater( 1992-2002 ) and before that it was Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage ( 1982 – 1992 ). The whole inside of the place was doused in black light and black light responsive paint. Not only that, there were 3 laser tag like guns attached to each car. As you ride, little targets appear on ghouls, ghosts, monsters and random objects. Your objective is to shoot these targets and see who has the highest score at the end of the ride. My fiancee’s gun was broken, and Victor beat me 880 to 830. As you enter the line for this ride, you have the option to buy a pair of 3-D type glasses for $1.00 to enhance your experience. They were worth it.
We did check out the Spongebob 3-D movie and the Drop Tower before Boo Blasters. Spongebob’s movie is housed where the old Days of Thunder interactive movie used to be shown. So the chairs moved, rocked and bucked like you were in a Nascar race. Those same chairs were used for Spongebob’s movie, which made the 3-D experience that much better.
Next, we went on the Drop Tower. This was the highest one I’ve went on, and it was able to accomadate 40 riders at a time. It was a great thrill. And after Boo Blasters we were itching to ride the coasters. We were able to ride 7 out of the 10 coasters. The ones we missed were Invertigo, Backlot Stunt Coaster and The Diamondback.
Here are pictures we had taken of us with Snoopy and Linus on our way to Boo Blasters
First we rode Flight Deck, which used to be Top Gun. Paramount sold the park to Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., the same company who owns Cedar Point, in 2006. So Top Gun was one of the handful of rides that had to be renamed to be unassociated from Viacom properties. This coaster rides suspended to the track overhead. On the park’s map this one’s rated at a 4 (5 being the highest ), considered a high thrill ride.
Next coaster up was Adventure Express. This one has an awesome theme to it. It’s supposed to be like riding through a rain forest and encountering an ancient Mayan/Incan temple. We rode the front car on this one, and were on it in about ten minutes. This one is rated a 5, an agressive thrill ride.
Coaster number 3 was The Racer(s). This one has two trains, one red and one blue. And if the operaters of the ride do it properly, the trains start at the same time and they “race” around the track. Fortunately, we had a legitimate race, and our red Racer beat the blue Racer by one car. From 1982 to 2008 the blue train would race the red train, with the blue train facing backward. This year I had no reason to wait in line twice. This coaster as well, is rated a 5.
My fiancee decided to sit the next coaster out. So Victor and I waited on line for Flight of Fear, previously known as “The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear”. This is the park’s one indoor roller coaster. I remember the year that this ride premiered, I waited in line for more than 4 hours to ride it. As the line starts to move outside, you progressively make your way into what appears to be a secret military hangar ( kind of like Area 51 ). Inside there is a UFO. Around the UFO there are computer components and monitors which show video of scientists examining the inside of the spacecraft, and then, you see some vague figure as the lead scientist starts looking crazy and presumably dies as the monitor screens go snowy. As the line proceeds, you enter the spacecraft. After a short wait ( we were on line, starting on the outside for about 40 minutes ) inside of the UFO, you’re at the line next to the track. We decided to wait for the front car again. This coaster goes from 0 to 56 mph in less than four seconds. Being that this coaster is indoors, makes for a totally different experience. There are plenty of loops as well as twists and turns on this ride to satiate any coaster enthusiasts hunger. I know it’s one of my all-time favorites. This one, like the previous two is rated a 5.
Flight of Fear’s neighbor is Firehawk, so we did the logical thing and went to wait in line. I have never been on a coaster like this, and it was well worth the wait. When you finally make your way to the train platform and board the train, there isn’t an obvious difference from other extreme coasters. When you get in your seat, you put your arms through the shoulder straps, buckle them together and an attendant pulls up a different type of lap bar. Before take off, the cars start to move backwards, causing you to be positioned on your back. Soon after take off, the train spirals so that the track is above you and your facing the ground only held in by the restraints. This was my first time on Firehawk, and it’s must if you’re at this park and haven’t rode it yet. This one as well is rated a 5.
We planned The Beast as the next coaster to ride. But, while we were on line for Firehawk, I saw a guy waiting in line holding a stuffed Gizmo from Gremlins. My fiancee said I should ask him where he got it, because I went apeshit when I noticed it. Initially I told her that we were going to see the whole park and we would be sure to spot the place to win him. Rather than take the chance of not finding a place to make Gizmo my own, I asked the guy where he got it and he said at “some game next to The Beast.” I asked him this about 45 minutes before we rode Firehawk, so by the time we decided to go on The Beast, just like a five year old, Gizmo was in the back of mind and I all but forgot about him. A few minutes before we find The Beast, my fiancee says “Jay! Look.” And right there was the game I could play for a chance to win my very own Gizmo. The game was mini basketball. You know, the little hoops like 2 feet away from you and you have to get the mini basketball into the mini hoop that is tied of at the bottom, so you can’t say you got one in when the attendant wasn’t looking. Anyway, it was two dollars a ball or three for five. I put my five in the little spinny thing and the attendant set down three mini Nerf-like basketballs. Those were so much harder to sink in the hoop than your typical basketball! As you probably guessed, I didn’t make a single one in. The attendant told me if I played again, she would give me four shots for five dollars. Another five in the spinny thing! Shot number three is a success! But there was another Gremlin available besides Gizmo. Instead of Gizmo coming back to NY, it was this guy.
It’s Mohawk from Gremlins 2: The New Batch. While I love Gizmo, you just don’t see Mohawk anywhere. He was one of the three mogwais from the second Gremlins film. If they had the Daffy mogwai, he would have been my choice.
Okay, so the next coaster we rode was The Beast. The Beast debuted in 1979, the same year I made my debut. The Beast is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. As far as coasters are concerned, this is a must ride. A classic among the many coasters the world has to offer. Being a wooden coaster, it has a rough feel to it, but it’s really fast and an extremely satisfying experience. Is there a question to as why this is rated a 5 as well? Here’s a few shots I managed to take.
And our last coaster of the day was one of the greatest. I present to you…Vortex.
What a perfect last ride! There were times I would ride this coaster three or more times consecutively. I did a little bit of reading on Wikipedia and learned that this ride briefly held a record for most inversions on a roller coaster. That has to be saying something! This one is intense and really gets your adrenaline pumping. Judging from the photo above, you aren’t going to be surprised to learn that this is rated a 5 as well. Here’s a few more shots of this amazing coaster.
( This one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken. )
In between the riding of the coasters we played a few games and won a few prizes. Surprisingly, luck was not on my side as it usually is when it came the claw machines. The first prize was won by my fiancee, and if you look at the pictures of us with Snoopy and Linus, you’ll see me holding this guy.
It’s Domo! Laurren ( my fiancee), won this little guy playing a game alot like beer pong. You get 6 ping pong balls for a dollar and you have to land a minimum of three balls in the cups to win a prize. Making 3-4 balls in, nets you a small prize, and making 5-6 in, nets you a large prize. we played a couple of times, and on the last round, Laurren made three balls in the cups.
This next guy was also won by Laurren, due to her mad game skills.
Oh my God! She won Kenny! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
We played a water gun race to the top deal. Being that only the two of us were playing, it was a win-win scenario. Like I said, Laurren’s got mad skills when it comes to carnival games, and she won the race.
Other then that, we got many cheap refills, and I even had to buy a second souvenir cup because Victor dropped the first one after we got off Adventure Express, and of course, it broke. We had a great time and I can’t wait to go there again.
I have a few more vacation related posts planned, so stay tuned. I have a few beverages waiting to be reviewed as well as some cool things I found at flea markets and some establishments we visited. Until then, I leave you with some random shots from King’s Island.