Intimidator 305 Up-Front Info
- Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 9.5
No inversions, but insane height, wild speed, and extreme positive g-forces. This is about as intense as it gets.
- Type of coaster: Giga-Coaster
- Height: 305 feet
- First drop angle: 85 degrees (just shy of straight down)
- First drop: 300 feet
- Top speed: 90 mph.
- Track length: 5100 feet
- Ride time: 3:00.
- Intimidator 305 Photo Gallery
Intimidator 305 Gets a Trim
Like Millennium Force, the original Giga-Coaster at sister park, Cedar Point, Intimidator 305 was supposed to reach a top speed of over 90 mph. When it debuted at the beginning of the 2010 season and hit 94 mph, however, there were reports of passengers "graying out" or nearly blacking out from the ride's crushing positive G-forces. Kings Dominion and the coaster's manufacturer, Intamin AG of Switzerland, subsequently installed trim brakes on the first drop and reportedly slowed the ride down to a more tolerable 79 mph. Some passengers, albeit a smaller number, still complain about a brief grayout experience even with the trims. So, it was with some trepidation and, yes, intimidation, that I strode into the loading station for my first ride. (Note that since I published this review, Kings Dominion has modified the section of track after the first drop and eliminated the trim brakes. The top speed is 90 mph, and reports of grayouts have decreased.)
Typical of newer non-inverting steel coasters, the trains feature stripped-down, open cars that leave riders fairly exposed. When it debuted, Intimidator 305's over-the-shoulder restraints used a harder, more rigid material that caused head-banging moments during the ride's wild transitions. They have been swapped out for restraints that use more pliable straps. The combination lap bar/OTS restraints now keep passengers snug, but quite comfortable throughout the ride.
Gentlemen! Start Your Engines!
When it hits the bottom of the 300-foot hill, Intimidator 305 takes a fairly abrupt banked turn to head back in the direction of the station. This is where grayouts have been plaguing passengers. As a seasoned coaster rider, I was surprised, chagrined, and, frankly, more than a bit freaked out the first time I felt like I might pass out on a thrill machine. The notorious double helix on Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain had me praying for the end of the ride. The only other time I experienced a tinge of coaster grayout was at the bottom of Millennium Force's first drop. I'm happy to report that, for me anyways, the trim brakes on Intimidator 305 appear to have done their job. Despite multiple rides in different positions on the train at different times of the day, I never felt more than a minor hint of fogginess making the banked turn.
Intimidator 305: Surprisingly Smooth and Utterly Unique
Intimidator 305 follows up with a few more quick-change banking elements. I suppose these high-speed, low-to-the-ground maneuvers are meant to replicate a NASCAR race experience. Whatever the intent, creating one of the world's tallest coasters only to keep it keep it close to terra firma and use its huge cache of energy to burn through tight elements makes for an utterly unique ride experience. Despite its are-you-kidding-me? speed and wacky track layout, Intimidator 305 is surprisingly smooth.
Intimidating? Sure. Intense to the point of graying out? For me, no. Wildly unique and incredibly fun? Yup. Gentlemen! (And ladies!) Start your engines and make tracks to Kings Dominion for Intimidator 305.