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Kings Dominion 2012

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Post September 1st, 2011, 6:21 am
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Kings Dominion is rolling out two attractions instead of one for the 2012 season.

For thrill seekers, the theme park in northern Hanover County will announce this morning that it will erect WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall swing ride. For family entertainment, it is building Dinosaurs Alive!, an interactive dinosaur exhibit.

"Every year, you try something new and different," John Pagel, marketing manager for Kings Dominion, said Wednesday.

"In the tourism and amusement business, you can't become stale. You add something new and keep the park fresh, so people want to come back every year."

WindSeeker is almost close to the height of the park's landmark Eiffel Tower.

The WindSeeker tower will spin riders nearly 30 stories above ground. Riders will be seated in two-person swings that slowly rotate in a circular motion, reaching speeds of 25 to 30 mph and flaring out nearly 45 degrees from the tower.

Wave Swinger, the park's original swing ride that opened in 1975, is 31 feet tall and has a top speed of 9 mph.

By today's standards, WindSeeker is a tame thrill ride, Pagel said. That's in contrast to Intimidator 305, a roller coaster that the park rolled out in 2010. The coaster stands 305 feet at its highest peak and has a 300-foot, 85-degree drop at the start.

"WindSeeker will provide riders with dramatic views of the park and surrounding attractions," Pat Jones, the vice president and general manager of Kings Dominion, said in a statement.

The cost for WindSeeker is $6.5 million, Pagel said. "At this time, there is no exact dollar amount on Dinosaurs Alive! We're still working out the details."

Dinosaurs Alive! will feature 36 life-size animatronic creations on a 6-acre Jurassic forest-like setting. Each dinosaur will be hand-carved and covered with skin-like materials.

Visitors can see and experience what the dinosaurs ate, when and where they lived, how they protected themselves and how they adapted to their world.

Highlights include the vicious-looking Irritator and its cousins, the Baryonyx and the Spinosaurus, the Stegosaurus, the meat-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex, the three-horned Triceratops and the flying Pteranodon.

The dinosaur park is not included with general park admission or season passes. A separate admission ticket will be required. The cost will be about $5, Pagel said.

"A couple of other parks have these attractions," including Kings Island near Cincinnati, he said. "They have been very successful and popular. We thought they would fit really well here."

The addition of two attractions for next year is a reflection of the park's success and the confidence its parent company, Ohio-based Cedar Fair LP, has in Kings Dominion, Pagel said.

"We have been fairly successful in a challenging economy," he said. "Amusement parks generally do better in a down economy because families have a tendency to put off the big trip and stay close to home."

In separate news Wednesday, KeyBanc analysts Scott Hamann and Lisa Brozewicz upgraded the stock for the theme park empire to a "buy" rating from a "hold" rating after meeting with incoming CEO Matt Ouimet.

Ouimet, the former president of Disneyland Resort, was named Cedar Fair's president in June and will become CEO in January. He'll take over from Dick Kinzel, who was 70 when the succession plan was announced this summer.

The analysts said new marketing, rides and attractions like Dinosaurs Alive! will help increase the number of visitors and the average amount each spends in the park. Cedar Fair operates 11 theme parks, including Kings Dominion and Kings Island.

Post September 1st, 2011, 9:46 am

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While I think the Windseeker rides are cool, and the Dinosaurs will probably we somewhat cool as well, I fear Cedar Fair is becoming more like Six Flags with doing multiple identical rides with the same names. When Paramount/CF have rides with the same names (i.e. Top Gun/FLight Deck) at least they were different ride styles. I think that the Windseekers are good rides, I just don't want to see EVERY CF park getting a Windseeker. I think it kind of robs the ride of its originality.

That being said I am excited for all the new rides. After all, names are just names, and if the rides are fun, who cares about the names/themes.

Post September 1st, 2011, 4:39 pm

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What originality? It's a set of swings on a tower! [lol]
I personally love the windseekers. I think they're wonderful additions to the parks they're in, and are a lot of fun. Not a top-ten ride by any means, but it's certainly nice to take a break from the coasters and get a nice view of the park.

And I think CF naming them all windseeker doesn't really do anything to hurt the "originality" of it. In my opinion, it makes it more of a brand type of thing, where if someone goes to a park and hears "windseeker" they know what they're getting themselves into. Back when Paramount owned the parks, the rides of the same name were all so different you really had no idea what it was going to be like when you went to a different park.

The Dinosaur thing, on the other hand, is a terrible, terrible idea. Maybe if it was free with admission it might be reasonable, but I think that sort of attraction just seems outdated, even if the technology they use is actually state-of-the-art. Animatronics just doesn't spark any amount of interest in me.

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