Kentucky Kingdom

12th June 2003

This park was known as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom at the time of this visit.

Our morning began with an exclusive hour spread across three coasters simultaneously. The original plan was for one of these to be the Schwarzkopf-built Greezed Lightnin', but this had to be changed at the last minute due to a large section of missing track. I decided to start with the steel stand-up coaster, Chang (#159), which I was stupid enough to ride in the back seat. Though the layout was fun the experience as a whole was marred by the uncomfortable restraint design; there was no way I was going to ride a second time.

Kentucky Kingdom

Twisted Twins (#160) wasn't a lot better due to some serious bumps on the course. On the positive side, however, the two duelling tracks made for a really interesting layout, which would likely have been fun if riders could enjoy it without bracing for impact every few seconds. On my second circuit it was a particular surprise to see a Boeing 737 fly by no more than two hundred feet overhead, with the pilots waving out the window. Some research later showed me that the park is directly adjacent to Louisville International Airport, with the flight path for runway 35L/17R passing over the western boundary of the park. One can only presume that this is why they have not built any really tall coasters!

Though I didn't realise it at the time, Thunder Run (#161) proved to be the best coaster in the park by a fair margin. The wooden design opened with one large drop, with the rest of the layout keeping very close to the ground, thereby maximising the sense of speed. Fifty mile per hour turns on a wooden coaster have the potential to be quite painful if the tracking isn't up to scratch, but fortunately this wasn't the case here. The ride was wild as a wooden coaster should be, but not rough at all.

Having put it off as long as possible it was time to ride the prototype Vekoma SLC. Nobody in the entire group enjoyed their ride on T2 (#162), a brutal experience that deserves to be scrapped at the first available opportunity. There are simply no positive things that can be said about this installation; the photo above of Adam and Steve says it all. It was telling that most of the seats on the apparent star attraction were empty despite a good number of people in the park.

Road Runner Express (#163) was being operated with ridiculously heavy braking, to the point that it was hardly worth riding at all; every single brake section stopped the car completely before releasing. As such, it is my sad duty to report that the best operational steel coaster in the park today was the kiddie Roller Skater (#164). It was certainly the only one any of us wanted to ride more than once.

The whole group met up for a picnic lunch. The park marketing director sat down opposite me, and we had quite an interesting conversation. He asked me what the highlight of the trip had been for me so far, and without hesitation I mentioned Holiday World. He was interested in why the place had made such an impression on me, and appeared genuinely thoughtful about how he could transpose some of their ideas into the Six Flags chain.

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Kentucky Kingdom

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