Deep in the woods of central Virginia, somewhere between Richmond and Washington D.C. lies a theme park that’s quietly amassed a treasure trove of thrill rides. With the addition of the impressive Intimidator in 2010, the park’s collection of roller coasters is world-class. All of the rides at King’s Dominion are varied in size and scope and come in many flavors, from the fun yet tame to the fast and the furious.
Let’s take a quick look at the stable of roller coasters found at King’s Dominion in Doswell, Virginia:
Fun, yet tame
Great Pumpkin Coaster
This one, formerly dubbed “Ghoster Coaster,” is strictly for the little ones. Built in 1975 and appearing in the park under several other pseudonyms over the years, this kiddie coaster is simply a warm up for future coaster enthusiasts.
Though not truly a roller coaster, Avalanche provides much of the same fun riders get from riding one. The only ride of its kind in North America, this bob-sled ride gives revelers an authentic and exhilarating ride every time. Pure fun!
Back Lot Stunt Coaster
Opening in 2006 as the Italian Job Turbo Coaster, the cars on this ride are literally 4-seater mini-cars, strung together in trains of three. What make this ride exciting is not huge lifts or daring drops, but the state of the art special effects that accompany riders on their screen test through a Hollywood stunt lot. The cars race out of the gate, dodging collisions and narrowly escaping explosions as they take their turn as a stunt man on this unique ride experience!
Ricochet is King’s Dominion’s version of the popular wild mouse type roller coaster, with hairpin turns and quick drops that will take guests on a three minute ride of pure fun!
Intimidator 305 is King’s Dominion’s most recent project, a $25 million Giga-coaster that’s become a favorite of thrill enthusiasts around the world. Aptly named after famed stock car racer Dale Earnhardt (“Intimidator” is his nickname!), this coaster has terrifying dimensions. The lift hill of this coaster is 305 feet above the ground, and the first drop is a 300 foot, 85-degree whopper. With speeds of up to 90 miles per hour and mega hits of both positive and negative G-forces, Intimidator 305 will leave thrill seekers begging for more!
Flight of Fear
Upon first glance, the building in which this indoor linear induction launched coaster seems innocuous, but this one sure packs a wallop, with four inversions and lots of twists and turns in a maze of steel track with speeds of up to 60 mph, and all in (almost) complete darkness. Great, great ride!
When this ride first opened in 1991, it was an immediate fan favorite. Anaconda is a steel looping roller coaster erected majestically over a lake, and its first drop, 143 feet, twists off down and to the right straight towards an underwater tunnel and straight up into a 360-degree loop. The coaster was the first of its kind, and a great, great ride!
One of the biggest waves to hit the roller coaster scene in the 1980’s was the standup roller coaster. From the late 70’s onward, these standing steel contraptions sprouted up everywhere. This 1986 edition is one of only a handful that’s left in the world. With a 360-degree horizontal loop, Shockwave brings riders parallel to the ground and craving the experience all over again.
Volcano, the Blast Coaster
“Feel the tension build as you slowly creep away from the station and float through a 90-degree bend to the left and over a pool of water. Then, erupt! Fly into the heart of darkness in the rumbling, smoke-spewing Volcano at speeds of over 70 mph. Blast into daylight again, curve around the back of the mountain, and then soar back into the mountain’s pitch-black core. Then, rocket 155 feet straight up and out of the top of the crater through a sidewinder inversion. Next, curve to the front of the mountain for another barrel-role, and top it off with an exhilarating grand finale—an 80-foot plummet into the base of the volcano before pulling back to the station. Head spinning. Heart pounding. Heat rising.” (*Taken from the King’s Dominion website.)
Indeed, this unique suspended coaster is one not to be missed. Volcano debuted in 1998 to rave reviews on the site of the former “Smurf Mountain” and is a favorite amongst the regulars at King’s Dominion.
This 4,200 foot-plus length of twisted metal broke two records (for the longest floorless roller coaster and largest loop) when it debuted in the park in 2008. With no less than five inversions and speeds of up to 67 mph, Dominator is one great ride!
Three Great Woodies
Set deep in the woods of Virginia, much of the Grizzly cannot be seen before riders embark on their journey. This double figure-eight wooden gem is modeled after Coney Island’s Wildcat and packs a real punch every time.
Rebel Yell is one of the oldest roller coasters in King’s Dominion and still one of its all time favorites. The ride is an out and back racer, consisting of twin coasters that race one another outwards from the loading station, navigating seemingly endless rolling hills, and back to the station in a blissful, exhilarating ride. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit it when one of the coasters makes its run backwards for an even more thrilling experience.
The Hurler is themed after the Wayne and Garth characters from Saturday Night Live’s “Wayne’s World” and is one of the best woodies around! But don’t worry, it won’t make you hurl!
Clearly, King’s Dominion has established itself as one of the premier theme parks on the East Coast, if not the entire country. With Intimidator headlining their world-class stable of roller coasters, King’s Dominion ranks among the best of the best and looks to have a successful 2010 season.