Yesterday friends and family of Kings Dominion employees were invited into the park a week early to give the ride operators, games hosts, eatery workers, etc. an opportunity to practice their jobs on actual guests before the park opens up to the general public. The past two weekends ride operators have been practicing running empty trains for hours at a time but this is the first weekend that this year’s new employees had the opportunity to work with actual guests. I’m happy to report that, overall, the staff did an excellent job today even in the cold, rainy weather.
Before I get to the pictures (though I’m sure no one is actually reading this part as it is), I want to give a quick shoutout to one of my friends who was kind enough to provide me with a ticket to get into the park today. You don’t know who he is, but he’s to thank for this update. I would also like to mention Kings Dominion’s excellent marketing department. They were gracious enough to greenlight the sharing of this extensive photo update with y’all before the park officially opens its gates so, a huge thanks to them as well!
International Street looks, simply, stunning. There’s new paint on a lot of the buildings and an all new fountain setup as well. Greeting guests as they walk in, is a brand new (old) planter featuring the #KD40 logo surrounded by an array of flowering plants. Around the corner you can see a fresh coat of paint on Beserker as well as brand new, all black restraints and seats on Dominator.
This planter was brought back from the Paramount days only now it has the beautiful 40th Anniversary logo on it!
The fountains were completely renovated this year as well as the pool bottom being painted solid black. I was a bit skeptical at first, but the black does a great job of adding depth to the pool. It’s also worth noting that the fountains will randomly increase and decrease in pressure throughout the day.
The park will be debuting two new culinary options this season on International Street, Fountains & Floats and Panino E Dolce, in addition to improving the menu for Border Cafe and updating the Pizza Parlor. Both of these restaurants were closed this weekend and still have some work to be done.
Dominator and Beserker
Dominator has brand new orange and black restraints as well as new all black seats! The old seats were fading badly around the head areas- it was a much needed move Kings Dominion part. Glad to see it done this offseason.
I have to say that I never noticed this change until I began going through my photos when I got home. Because of that, I never got any close ups so these shots will have to do for now.
There’s a lot of stuff going on in the International Street section. Whether it’s new paint or preparation for the Spring Bloom Festival, if it doesn’t have a set spot in the International Street section, it’ll be grouped here. Make sure you read the captions!
Candy Apple Grove
Another blast from the past! This season, Kings Dominion transformed “The Grove” back into the legendary “Candy Apple Grove!” While, overall, the entire area hasn’t been radically changed, there are little touches added all over to bring a good bit of that charm back to the park. The new candy apples in particular do a great job of brightening the midway. I don’t want to fully judge it yet as the park hasn’t officially opened, but sadly, judging by what has been done, restoring this area of the park back to its former glory will likely take another season of additional offseason work. I think my biggest grievance with the area in its current state is the lack of pavers. There’s still a lot of cracked pavement and, especially on a rainy day like today, it really stands out. Fortunately, from what I understand, removing the pavement from the park is still a work in progress and it will all eventually be gone. Baby steps…
Well it wouldn’t be Candy Apple Grove without candy apples! These largerthan life apples help bring a pop of color the the area. Also, the pictures really don’t do their height justice. They are very tall.
Probably the most anticipated change for 2014 is the return of the iconic Singing Mushrooms! The singing mushrooms consist of four mushrooms and a frog. The frog’s name is “Mr. Phibian” and the four mushrooms are named “Timmy, Jimmy, Lenny, and Bob.” The mushrooms perform roughly every 20 minutes. Anyway, you can click here to view a full video of the singing mushrooms in action and enjoy the pictures below as well!
Anyone know what time it is? Well if you’re on the Eiffel Tower or walking by, you do now! Having never seen the original in anything but pictures, I never truly realized how large this clock was. Kings Dominion did a great job imitating the original nearly perfectly.
Last year was the beginning of a multi-year renovation project which, when completed, will have completely restored the park’s carousel. Last year they restored a few of the horses and, though a few more were done this year, the park specifically showcased one horse in particular, Ruby. You’ll see why Ruby was highlighted in the pictures below. It looks stunning.
On top of restoring a few more horses, the park also brought back the ride’s original ticket booth. The ticket booth was in rough shape, but in the hands of Kings Dominion workers, they managed to restore it to its former beauty. Sadly, I do not have a picture at this time. Stay tuned for our opening weekend coverage next week for that and pictures of a few other things I missed. Anyway, enjoy the pictures of the carousel!
Another thing to add to the list of things that received some love for #KD40: Rebel Yell. This ride has been through everything. Opening for the Kings Dominion in 1975, it surely has seen the good and bad. This season Rebel Yell’s lift hill was painted red, white, and blue. Sadly, though the lift looks great, it’s the only part of the ride’s course that received paint. Could this be a project planned for completion over the coming weeks or, perhaps, even next year? We’ll have to wait and see I suppose.
Perhaps even more exciting than Rebel Yell’s new paint job are the chaser lights that have also been installed. These lights are red, white, and blue and follow coaster’s layout all the way up to the turnaround next to Intimidator 305. Can’t wait to see them in action!
Just like International Street, there’s some things in Candy Apple Grove that don’t justify having their own subsection so they’ve been tossed here. Again, be sure to read the captions!
In all honesty, there’s not much new to be seen in Safari Village at the moment. The two most noteworthy projects are probably Volcano: The Blast Coaster’s multi-year renovation project and Anaconda much needed coat of fresh paint.
It may just be new paint, but it looks really nice regardless. That said, I do think it blends in with Intimidator 305 a bit.
Volcano: The Blast Coaster
This is the big story in Safari Village. Volcano’s load and unload stations are now combined into one single loading and unloading area. When you enter the line and queue house, you will be go through the switch back and go down the old Fast Pass steps into the station. The former entrance now acts as the exit. Here are some pictures:
The Hungry Hippo
Formerly know as The Trails End Grill, Safari Village’s main eatery has had it’s name rolled back to The Hungry Hippo. Fantastic sign in my honest opinion.
The entire gondola for The Crypt is currently missing. If I recall, the park posted a picture of the gondola sitting in front of the ride waiting for reinstallation. I’m sure we won’t see this ride operating on opening day.
Other Additions & Changes
This talented group of individuals roam around the park performing performing these crazy antics. This is a must see group on any visit to Kings Dominion.
Lastly, here are some other shots I took on Sunday. If you see something interesting in here that wasn’t covered above, more than likely, I’m aware of it and you’ll see much more detailed coverage of it soon.
Thanks for reading! Less than a week till Kings Dominion opens on Saturday, April 5th!
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