Kings Island: Fast Lane Pass, Roller Coasters, and Arthritis

Kings Island Fast Lane Pass
Kings Island Fast Lane Pass

My wife and I visited Kings Island on Sunday, August 31st, 2014. The cost of our visit was approximately $270 because we purchased Fast Lane Passes, paid for parking, and bought food while at the park. Our Fast Lane Passes made our visit $140 more expensive than a normal visit. So did our $270 trip seem worth it when compared to the normal $130 visit? Yes… because we splurged on what is most likely a one-time experience.

First, the Fast Lane Pass is an expensive band that allows park visitors to essentially cut to the front of the line of most rides. While others waited in line for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and sometimes longer on Sunday… we generally waited in line 3 to 10 minutes. The Banshee (a roller coaster) and a few other rides are not included with the Fast Lane Pass. But with the Fast Lane Plus, you can get to the Banshee Fast Lane and a few other rides. We did not feel as though the extra $15 was worth it for the Banshee Fast Lane Plus.

My wife and I wanted to do this trip because it is probably the last time we can do something really fun on our own. We’ll most likely have kids in tow the next time we go to an amusement park… and may not be able to do the big roller coasters with kids for several years. So paying the extra money felt reasonable to us because THIS was most likely a one-time experience.

We sometimes heard people make comments about us cutting in front of them, and sometimes a kid would whine about it not being fair to his/her parent. But in general we had few comments (that we heard).

The comments that bothered me the most were the comments made about the disabled riders. People with a disability were allowed to “cut” in line, even ahead of people with a Fast Pass. This happened to my wife and I couple times. We didn’t care. But people behind us often made unpleasant comments about the disabled people being allowed to cut and how it was unfair. With everything in the world that is against people with a physical handicap, I did not care that they had a benefit of getting to the front of a line at Kings Island.

Sometimes the mother or another person with the disabled rider heard the comments. The mothers seemed to shrink in their seats because they were upset by the comments. My wife and I expected rude comments to sometimes be made about us. We’d researched the Fast Lane Pass before we purchased them. But I was surprised by the comments made toward disabled riders.

**after I originally posted this, one of the commenters explained how this system actually works. If a disabled rider wants to ride a ride, and the wait is two-hours, that disabled rider is allowed to come back two hours later instead of standing in line**

***

My wife and I arrived at Kings Island and got through the front gate around 10:06 a.m., and we left around 10:30 p.m. It poured rain from 9 a.m. to around 10 a.m., but then the rest of the day was nice. In fact, after around 11 a.m., I think the sun was out most of the day.

During our 12.5 hours at Kings Island we rode the following rides:

  • The Stunt Coaster: We rode this roller coaster once. It was a really fun ride, until the end, when it broke down due to electrical failure. We were stuck on the track around 10 minutes until the park crew were able to fix it. They brought us water, and someone kept talking to us while we were stuck in the sun. They fixed it quickly, so this was an interesting story instead of a terrible experience.
  • The Kings Island Eiffel Tower: This is a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower that allows you to see the entire park. We did this once. Technically not a ride, but our Fast Lane worked on it.
  • The Drop Zone: A ride that takes you up incredibly high, and then drops you. On the way up, I kept saying (sometimes out loud): Bad Idea, Bad Idea… bad idea… this is a bad idea. Um, not doing that one again ever. It was never on my bucket list, but my stomach says never again. So, we did that one once.
  • The Delirium: It’s like a giant swinging frisbee that around 70 or 80 people can ride. It was pretty good. We would like to do that one again, but we only did it once on Sunday.
  • The Monster: A small, scrambler type ride. We did that one once.
  • The Racer: Two roller coasters that mirror each other, built from wood. They used to have one go backwards, but now both go forward. We rode that one once. We would do that one again.
  • The Vortex: This was the worst roller coaster (for me) at the park. When I was in high school (23 years ago) I was 5-7. Sunday, at the age of 39, I was nearly 5-10. For every jolt the coaster made, my knees smacked into the plastic directly in front of my legs. Very painful and I had to walk off the discomfort. I will never ride the Vortex again. So, we did that once.
  • The Bat: It was a metal roller coaster. It was fine for a ride, but we rode it only once.
  • The Invertigo: This is a roller coaster that goes forward part of the time, and switches to backward for part of the time. This one nearly caused my wife to lose her lunch because we were not expecting it to change direction. So, we rode that one once and will never ride it again.
  • The Banshee: This is apparently Kings Island’s banner roller coaster (as if anything can top the Beast). The Banshee is a smooth riding metal roller coaster that reminds me of the King Cobra, except superior in every way. Best roller coaster in the park? Debatable. We had Fast Lane, not Fast Lane Plus, so we waited in line approximately 30 minutes to ride this one. Would we ride it again? Sure. But on Sunday we only went once. But this coaster is smooth, fast, and really really fun.
  • Flight of Fear: Our Fast Lane did not work on this one, so we waited approximately 30 to 40 minutes. It was amazing. We rode it only once, but would ride it again.
  • The Carousel: My wife grew up loving Carousels, and has had her father make several small wooden carousels that spin with a small motor. The largest is the size of a bread box. So, we rode this once… and will ride it again because my wife loves carousels. The paint on the horses was very attractive.
  • Adventure Express (I think): I cannot remember the name, and the coaster itself was also forgettable. Its fine if you want something mild. We rode it only once.
  • The Diamondback: A smooth riding metal coaster that goes up to 80 mph according to the staff running the ride. We loved this one. Our Fast Lane Pass worked on it. So throughout the day we rode this one 8 times. Our average wait time was five minutes. Once we waited longer because 7 people threw up on the coaster, and the crew had to spray off the cars. There was a guy who was trying to set a record. One of the times we stood behind him, his shirt said that he had ridden Diamondback 11,400 times! We rode Diamondback twice after dark. The Diamondback was my favorite roller coaster.
  • The Beast: A wooden roller coaster that is super fast, this one was my wife’s favorite. It caused bruises on my right shoulder from the way it shook us around, but we did ride it 8 times. In addition, we rode it three times at night. We were delayed on our last ride. We were in line at 9:50 (the park closes at 10), but they shut the Beast down because of the 10 p.m. fireworks. When they restarted the ride after the fireworks, we sat in the front… and left the park soon after at 10:30 p.m. The Beast is tied with the Diamondback in my opinion for best coaster. The Banshee is third. To be fair, during the day, the Beast and Banshee are tied for second (with Diamondback first in my opinion). But there is nothing like riding the Beast in the dark. If you must wait in line for an hour or longer at Kings Island… I suggest you wait for the front seat of the Beast… after dark.

So if you count the Eiffel Tower… and if I counted correctly, we had 29 rides in 12.5 hours with our Fast Lane Pass.  The cost of parking, food, and the tickets/Fast Lane Passes made our trip approximately $270. We averaged 2.3 rides an hour, or one ride approximately every 26 minutes for the entire day. That’s pretty good considering we had restroom breaks and also ate a few times.

***

This type of all day Kings Island experience is probably not for someone with a 39-year-old body (or older). At the end of the day my body felt like I’d barely won a fight with former UFC and WWE champion Brock Lesnar. My shoulder was sore from being thrown around by the Beast, and my entire body in general was beat up from the constant jerking on the rides.

The arthritis in my right pinky finger bothered me the most at the beginning of the day when I was holding on tight during rides. But by the end of the day I was riding coasters with my hands in the air… so the pain in my right pinky (arthritis) mostly went away. My back and legs were sore, but the day after the soreness was mostly gone. If you have arthritis, the Fast Lane Pass may not be for you.

In the end I had some Tylenol and Kings Island was a lot of fun!

*The Diamondback did not hurt my body because it was a smooth ride

What about you? Have you ever splurged on a vacation/amusement park? What did you do?

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2 thoughts on “Kings Island: Fast Lane Pass, Roller Coasters, and Arthritis

  1. Actually, disabled people don’t get to “cut” in line, per se. Effective last year, Kings Island’s system for disabled riders is that they go to a ride, find out what the average wait time is and then they can come back later after that time and ride the ride. So, if you want to ride Banshee, for example, and the wait time is 2 hours, you get a pass to come back two hours later to ride it. The only perk disabled riders have is that they don’t have to stand in line the entire wait time — they can go sit down elsewhere, ride other rides or do other things while they’re waiting.

    1. That makes sense. I was not sure how they were doing it… so I just wrote about what I experienced from my point of view. I doubt I would have even thought twice about it, but a few (not all) of the people behind me mentioned it being unfair. The system you described for disabled riders sounds like a good one to me.

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