Virginia’s Only Active Volcano I was there the first day this coaster opened in the Summer of ’98. Thanks to the LIMs (linear induction magnets) which have changed the face of roller coasters, the launch is one of the most amazing coaster experiences I’ve ever witnessed. The acceleration is so raw and powerful. Anyway, it’s indescribable how cool it feels. 0 to 70 in a matter of seconds! Don’t try that in your Jetta, trust me you won’t even come close. Some eight years later launch coasters are all over the country and world, but Volcano was one of the first and is still one of the best of this new breed.
Unfortunately, after the launch, the ride is good, but not great. On the back side of the mountain there’s plenty of speed for another element or something more than just a banked turn back into the mountain. The climb up and out of the top is really cool, but the barrel rolls that follow are fun, but not breath-taking. You’re pretty high up there and one of the rolls makes you think you’ve just missed hitting the mountain.
I’ve gotta give Kings Dominion some credit though. It is a very unique coaster and theming is a step forward for this park. They took the old Smurf Mountain and did a great job re-theming it. There’s even fire that erupts from the top of the volcano. The timing for those eruptions must be perfect, because it looks like they could fry some riders if the timing was off. I just wish they would’ve done a little more with it. I envisioned the track going through the mountain more, similar to how Montu spends time flying through those canyons. Still it’s a great ride and shouldn’t be missed. It currently sits precariously at number 10 in my Top Coasters. Final Rating – 8.5 (Great-Approaching Excellent)