“I got some intel. When we get there, we need to go straight to Volcano,” Callie said as she climbed in my car. It was 8:30am on a Sunday morning and we were bound for an adventure. But Callie wasn’t referring to the geological feature known for spewing lava, she was talking about a roller coaster known for having riders “Soar at speeds up to 60 miles per hour into the heart of darkness, then rocket 155 feet straight up and out of the top of the crater through a spectacular sidewinder inversion in head-spinning, heart-pounding fashion.” We were headed for Kings Dominion!
Kings Dominion is located an hour and a half south of Washington, DC in Doswell, Virginia. It has 395 acres of rides, games, food, and fun. Attached to Kings Dominion and included in the cost of admission is Soak City water park.
During our 6 hour Sunday visit we rode nearly every ride that didn’t require a bathing suit or child accompaniment; 24 in all. We visited on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon the weekend before the final week of the 2017 Season. We were pleasantly surprised to find very short, even nonexistent, lines for every attraction
Kings Dominion is divided into 6 sections: International Street, Old Virginia, Candy Apple Grove, Planet Snoopy, Safari Village, and Soak City. The only section we avoided entirely was Soak City. We’ll have to make a return visit!
We rated every ride we tried on a 3 star system. ⭐⭐⭐ is best. ⭐ is okay. We enjoyed every ride we tried.
Keeping with the intel Callie received, we headed straight for Volcano. We climbed aboard and with our shoulder harnesses securely fastened I looked over and said, “Are you a screamer?” At that moment we were launched from the starting gate and off on 70 seconds of 60 mph fun.
We loved the bobsled concept of this coaster. In places there are no tracks; instead the cars glide through a bobsled-like, curved track. It lost a star because of an uneven, bumpy ride.
Intimidator 305 ⭐⭐⭐
As a Dale Earnhardt fan I was looking forward to this ride, but I’ll admit that I was intimidated by the Intimidator. It starts with a rise to 305′ followed immediately by a drop of 300′ at an 85˚ angle. The ride last 3 minutes and reaches speeds of 90 mph.
The multiple loops stand out visually on Anaconda. It lost a star because the ride looks more impressive than it felt. The 1 minute, 50 second ride travels 50 mph.
Flight of Fear ⭐⭐⭐
We weren’t even sure what we were walking into. It looks like a warehouse from the outside. But we knew we were in for a thrill when we saw the car in front of us launch. Riders go from 0 to 54 mph in 4 seconds. Once in the “warehouse” there is some ambient light to see what is coming, but most of it takes place in darkness.
Back Lot Stunt Coaster ⭐
This dated ride only reaches speeds of 40 mph which feels remarkably slow after the other nearby rides.
I’ve always been a big fan of The Scrambler, but with so many coasters in Safari Village this ride left us wanting more.
Candy Apple Grove
Drop Tower ⭐⭐⭐
There’s an amazing view from 305′ in the air as you wait to drop 27 stories during the longest Gyro height drop in the world. The drop of 272′ is taken at 72 mph.
Rebel Yell ⭐⭐⭐
For a wooden roller coaster, this ride was silky smooth! It features a long track and the ride lasts 2.5 minutes. This coaster is a race between the blue car and red car , which launch together and meet up at various points along the track.
Wave Swinger ⭐⭐⭐
Everything you’d expect from a traditional swings ride. I love that “soothing, wave motion experience.”
An all grown up version of the traditional swings ride, this one towers over 300 feet above the park below. Callie loved this ride, but it made me sleepy. It was high, but not particularly thrilling.
The zig-zaggy track is easily seen from above while on the Windseeker. All of the twists and turns make it look like a fun ride, but reality wasn’t as fun as the track looked.
The views from this 110 foot ferris wheel are great and provide a great chance for a top down photo of the park. But they were running with only 8 cars loaded and a long line of people. When we did get on, the ride only lasted 2 trips around.
It’s exactly what you expect from a carousel ride. It only lost a star because the operater asked riders to guess how old this carousel was which prompted people to shout numbers throughout most of the ride. It was so loud it was difficult to hear the music. But this carousel is 100 years old!!
I really, REALLY didn’t want to ride this pendulum ride that spins and swings to a height of 115′. But at the end of the day, it was my favorite ride!
Bad Apple ⭐⭐⭐
A spinning, twirling ride for all ages. Kind of Scrambler meets Flying Eagles.
This old wooden roller coaster is hard to find! You have to enter through the gift shop next to the Grand Prix Raceway and follow the path through the forest. Once we finally made it on the ride we were disappointed by how bumpy it was.
Flying Eagles ⭐⭐⭐
A spinning ride where you control the direction of your car with a giant sail on the front. We had a lot of fun, but were a little cramped with 2 adults in the same car. We should have rode separately.
Blue Ridge Tollway ⭐⭐⭐
Everything you’d expect from a traditional “old car ride.” There’s a track so steering is limited, but it’s a great scenic course including a little covered bridge. Great for kids to get the thrill of driving.
Shenandoah Lumber Co. ⭐⭐⭐
A typical “log ride.” A beautiful backwoods course and large plunge at the end. Not too much splash.
Whitewater Canyon ⭐⭐⭐
If you didn’t get wet enough on Shenandoah Lumber Co., get your towels ready for after Whitewater Canyon. This raft ride features 6 people to a raft and no one walks away dry. We’d been on the course a few minutes when our raft slowed and the water grew calm. “Is it over?” Callie asked. At that moment, a water canon fired off next to us drenching us all before pushing us to the other side of the basin where another water canon fired and sent us in a different direction where we met yet another water canon.
This Viking ship swings backwards, forwards, and eventually over the top. It wasn’t nearly as thrilling (or scary) as we had expected.
This 2 minute, 6 second ride is the longest floorless roller coaster in the world and features 5 inversions!
The kid’s area at Kings Dominion is Peanuts themed. Complete with a cast of characters.
Woodstock Express ⭐⭐⭐
Opened in 1974, this smooth, wooden coaster was the first ride built at Kings Dominion.
Great Pumpkin Coaster ☹️
We were turned away from this seasonally appropriate ride for not having a child (or short adult) with us.
As you can see in the photos, we had a great time. Even the rides that only earned ⭐ were fun. Just not as fun as the ⭐⭐⭐ rides. I’d still ride any of them again. When do you want to go?
Kings Dominion is open through Labor Day. If you go, use code SUMMER17 on their website for half off your ticket during the remainder of the 2017 season. You can also buy 2018 Season Passes now for around $100 per person.
Parking is an additional $15.
For an easy day we chose to not take any bags with us. We each had a phone and credit card. We left our sunglasses in the car and we wore shoes that tied instead of flip flops. If you do have a bag, sunglasses, etc., each ride has a bin or cubbies where you can leave your items during your ride. The only thing we wished we had brought were small plastic bags for our phones during the water rides. I wrapped my phone in a park map and kept it in my pocket during Whitewater Canyon. At the end, the map was wet but my phone was fine.
Several rides feature automatic photos (as seen above) and roaming photographers through out the park. Kings Dominion offers an all day photo package for $29.99 which will provide you with digital copies of each photo.
Are you going to Kings Dominion? Let me know in the comments below which ride you want to try. Consider pinning the image below to let your friends know you’re going to Kings Dominion!