Introduced in 2010, Intimidator 305 reaches a height of, yup, 305 feet, drops at an incredibly steep 85 degrees (just shy of straight down), and accelerates to face-melting speeds. Themed to racing car legend Dale Earnhardt (who had the nickname, the Intimidator), the coaster is all about crazy speed and intense G-forces.
Kings Dominion has an impressive trio of launched coasters. Volcano, The Blast Coaster uses magnetic induction to snake riders in and out of a belching molten mountain. Suspended from the track, the inverted coaster features two launches and reaches impressive speeds of 70 mph.
The queue for the other launched coaster, the indoor Flight of Fear, winds through a flying saucer. The ride itself doesn't do much to tell any kind of story. Like Disney's Rock and Roller Coaster, it does have a pulse-quickening launch into darkness that is a wild rush. But after accelerating to 54 mph, the short ride peters out. The park also offers Back Lot Stunt Coaster, a family launched coaster themed to Hollywood special effects.
Among Kings Dominion's other coasters are Hurler, a so-so woodie that was at one time themed to Wayne's World of Saturday Night Live fame (hence the name), Rebel Yell, an old-school, twin racing woodie (and both screeching trains in desperate need of lubricating oil), and Grizzly, a double out-and-back coaster nestled among a thick forest of trees. While the natural setting for Grizzly is great, I found its ride mostly lackluster.
Long lines and hot days do not make great bedfellows, and the popular Kings Dominion can get very crowded. You may want to consider visiting on weekdays, during overcast weather, or in the off-season to avoid tedious waits (especially for the slow-loading Volcano). While the Water Works water park is free and sounds like it might be a great place to chill out on a hot day, it does not boast a large number of attractions and tends to get very crowded when the mercury rises.
Location:Doswell, VA (near Richmond, VA and Washington, D.C.). The physical address is 16000 Theme Park Way.
Tickets and Admission Info:Tickets to the theme park include admission to the adjacent Water Works water park. Reduced price for children (under 48") and seniors (62+). 2 and under are free. Discounted tickets and specials such as two-day tickets are often available online. Season passes are available.
Area Hotel Info:Compare rates for Kings Dominion-area hotels at About.com's booking partner, Kayak.
Directions:The physical address is 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, VA
I-95 to Exit 98 in Doswell. Kings Dominion is 20 miles north of Richmond, VA and 75 miles south of Washington, DC.
- Among its impressive roster of roller coasters, Kings Dominion offers Intimidator 305, one of the world's tallest thrill machines. Other standouts include Volcano, The Blast Coaster, an inverted magnetic launch coaster, Flight of Fear, an indoor magnetic launch coaster, Dominator, a floorless coaster, and Hurler, a wooden coaster.
- Drop Tower, a 305-foot tall freefall ride
- Planet Snoopy, a themed area for younger children
- Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, an interactive dark ride
Water Park Info:The Water Works water park is included with admission to Kings Dominion. Water Works is relatively small and can get crowded when the weather gets hot.
New at the ParkNew for 2013:
The land for small children gets a makeover with new rides.
New for 2012:
Windseeker and Dinosaurs Alive
The Windseeker spinning swing ride will climb a daunting 301 feet. The park will also be getting an extra-charge animated dinosaur attraction.