Tag Archives: travel

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?

Kentucky Tourism

Well, this is my second time visiting family in the Blue Grass State. I have friends in Ohio and Indiana as well, so this journey from the Pacific Northwest allows me to catch up with a lot of people the old fashioned way (face to face!) Sure that may not be as trendy as Facebook , but I prefer face to face interaction. In addition, we don’t text each other while sitting on the couch. We actually talk to each other. I know I know… I am so 1950s.

Anyway, we have seen some of the basic sights in the area, and yes there is more than just Kentucky Basketball! But it is out of season for horse racing, otherwise we may have gone to see a horse race in the horse racing capital of the world. But we did make it to Berea College and toured part of the campus. For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you know that creating a free college is one of the more dynamic goals I have listed on my bucket list. Berea College is a mostly free college. Students do not pay tuition, but they do pay for books, room, and board. It serves over 1500 students, and is a respected college.

In addition to seeing part of the campus, we also visited some of the art shops run by local artisans.

Old Town Artist Village in Berea Kentucky

One of those artists in Berea Kentucky was Jimmy Lou at Hot Flash Beads. We were given a demonstration of how she created these beads. It was a fun experience because not only did we see the beads being made, we were also able to ask questions about the process.

We also stopped in at a weaving shop, and a glass blowing shop.

weston studio glass At Weston Studio Glass, we were able to talk to Michelle Weston. Just like Jimmy Lou, we were given a demonstration of the glass blowing process and were able to ask questions along the way. It was really a fun experience, and the glass art was exceptional. Each one is individually made, making it instantly unique.


And then, of course, we included fishing on our trip. My wife and I are unable to catch fish in Oregon. When we went fishing with her dad in Kentucky, we caught two turtles which we threw back, a tree branch which we threw back, three small fish which we threw back. We caught and kept one decent sized crappie, one decent sized catfish, and one large catfish. So, we will not starve 😉

We have had an interesting difficulty with one-day fishing licenses while in Kentucky. When we were here two years ago, Wal-Mart told us that no one in the state sold one day fishing licenses. We went to a bait shop by the lake, and were sold a one-day license. So this time, we went to the bait shop by the lake for our one day fishing license. And guess what? His machine was broken that day. So we went to Meijer, which was able to sell us a one-day fishing license.

Moral? Um… I guess call around the day you want to go fishing in Kentucky to see which store can sell a one-day fishing license.  Regardless, we enjoyed fishing!

Sunrise: Kentucky Fishing
This is the lake we went fishing on.

Gone Fishin’ … for Rocks and Trees?

So my wife and I went fishing Saturday. Apparently we were not clear about our goals… which can be a problem in some marriages. You know the “C-word”: communication. I assumed we were going fishing to catch fish.

At least I had my camera with me to document our triumphant fishing expedition.

Gone Rock Fishing?
My wife caught a large rock. It was a whopper and too big to haul in… so she went into the water to land the beast. I’m guessing it got away because she certainly didn’t carry a rock back with her. Maybe she did catch and release…
Gone Tree Fishing?
It has been a long time since I hooked a tree. Let me tell you, after an epic battle, this monster finally snapped my line and remains at large. Instead of a tall fish story… this is a tall tree story. Except I think mine is believable because of the photographic evidence.
Spring is definitely here.
I think my area of the Northwest only has three seasons… Spring, Summer, and Fall… and the fall is like 6 months long. But that’s okay because green is my favorite color.
My wife and I fishing for rocks
Yes, we were fish and rock fishing. But we needed a big boat, probably an aircraft carrier, to land this giant rock … *sigh*
The water was pretty but I wasn't sure there were fish in it
The water was pretty but I’m not sure there were fish in it because we sure as heck didn’t catch any fish.
The sun in a cloud or jet trail?
I’m 98.975-percent positive this is not an alien ship landing, but it looked really cool.

I liked this view but couldn't get a good picture of it

  Green moss on a long, winding branch

I had fun taking this photo
I had fun taking this photo … I almost look like a real photographer with this one : )

The Oregon Coast Near Florence

Went to the Oregon Coast on Saturday. Our goal was to see the sunset and get amazing photos of pink, orange, purple and red on the ocean… the forecast the day before said clear skies on the website we checked…

When we first arrived, the sun was out and the clouds were fluffy white in the blue sky.
Oregon Coast near Florence, sun and clouds, beach, http://www.ishism.com

And then the clouds started to get dark and roll in …


Below is our last glimpse of the sun before the clouds totally invaded…


Rays of sunshine poking through the clouds over the ocean…


So we did not get to see the sunset… but we still got some good photos.

Bullets, Bourbon, Broken Fingers and More

When I went to Kentucky there were many things I experienced that I did not expect. Most of them were fun… some were annoying.

I visited family and friends one last time before returning to the academic world. I know some bloggers post several times a day, others post at least several times a week. I have not had time because I’ve been really busy relaxing. If you have ever had a vacation to relax with family and friends, then you know how busy a vacation can actually become.

Here is a brief summary of the things I saw and experienced over seven days in August 2012 to September 2012…bullets, bourbon, broken fingers, and more… Continue reading Bullets, Bourbon, Broken Fingers and More