Kings Dominion | Theme Park Reviews

Kings Dominion Park GuideKings Dominion: Launch Coaster Capital in the Heart of Virginia

Kings Dominion
Doswell, VA
Park Map
Tickets & Pricing
Last Visit: Summer 2004

Kings Dominion is located about 20 miles north of Richmond, VA and about 70 miles south of Washington D.C. It was my home park growing up and I’ve visited countless times. I’ve seen the park grow over the years and I’ve had plenty of time to notice the blemishes and not so positive things. So I’m probably more critical of this park than any other. I’ll try to be as fair as possible in my review. Today, Kings Dominion boasts 13 roller coasters including 4 launch coasters. Last year, the park was acquired by Cedar Point parent company Cedar Fair. As a result of its former affiliation as a Paramount park it shares similar attractions with Carowinds, Kings Island, Great America, and Canada’s Wonderland.

Theming & Atmosphere
Theming at Kings Dominion has been largely dictated by its relationship with Paramount. Some of the movie themed attractions have included: Hurler (Wayne’s World), Days of ThunderKings Dominion Season Pass Motion Simulator, Tomb Raider: Firefall, Italian Job: Turbo Coaster, and Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Mansion. With Cedar Fair at the helm, these rides may be re-named. The park’s sections like The Grove, International Street, and Congo are minimally themed. On the bright side, the park is pretty clean and has a decent amount of trees. From the top of the Eiffel Tower replica or Drop Zone you have a great view of the surrounding Virginia forest.

Notable Rides & AttractionsDrop Zone - Kings Dominion
Kings Dominion has a strong selection of non-coasters. Drop Zone: Stunt Tower is one of the tallest drop tower rides in the world at 305 feet tall. Berzerker, located on International Street, is one of the few swinging ship rides that actually inverts. Nickelodeon Central features Blues Clues and Rugrats attractions for the little ones. Kidzville has attractions like the drive n’ shoot ride Scooby Doo’s Haunted Mansion that still bare the Hanna Barbera theming that Kings Dominion had long ago. Many Virginian kids remember growing up eating Smurf Ice Cream and riding Smurf Mountain (which is now Volcano). Water Works, a large water park, will debut its second wave pool and two new water slides this year. Admission to Water Works is included admission to the park.

Coaster Breakdown – One Star, With a Large but Mediocre Supporting Cast
Volcano is the Star Attraction

Italian Job Turbo Coaster – Steel Family Launch Coaster – N/A
A launch coaster themed after the popular Italian Job movie. The train cars are Mini Coopers equipped with speakers that add to the experience. While I haven’t ridden Kings Dominion’s version, I have a review of Kings Island’s clone. Check out my full review and video.

Taxi Jam – Steel Kiddie Coaster – N/A
A small kiddie coaster in the Nickelodeon section of the park.

Shockwave – Steel Stand-Up Coaster – 3.5
Nearly unrideable, this stand-up coaster should’ve been scrapped along time ago. Check out my complete review along with an on-ride video.

Hurler – Wooden Coaster – 4.0
Anyone remember Wayne’s World? If you would’ve ridden the Hurler when that movie was hot you would’ve had a great ride. Not today though, the Hurler has aged poorly.

Scooby Doo’s Ghoster Coaster – Wooden Coaster – 5.0 (Average)
Smaller wooden coaster for the kids and adults with short legs. All can ride, but taller riders won’t be comfortable. Great gateway coaster for the young ones.

Rebel Yell – Wooden Racing Coaster – 5.5 (Average)
An old racing coaster that races infrequently. One train is facing backwards and one faces forwards. A bit rough, but it still gives some good moments of air on the first drop. Hang in there old-timer!

Ricochet – Steel Wild Mouse Coaster – 5.5 (Average)
Hairpin turns in small four person cars. Not your standard layout for a wild mouse.

Anaconda – Steel Looping Coaster – 6.5 (Above Average)
Steel looping coaster set on a pond with an underwater tunnel. Short and a little rough, but pretty fun. Check out my complete review along with an on-ride video.

Avalanche – Steel Bobsled Coaster – 7.0 (Good)
Great family coaster with surprising speed and g-forces.

Grizzly – Wooden Coaster – 7.0 (Good)
Popular old woodie hiding in the woods of the Old Dominion section of the park.

Flight of Fear – Steel Launch Coaster – 7.5 (Good)
First roller coaster with LIMs, its success undoubtedly helped to kick off the launch coaster era. Check out my complete review along with links to an on-ride video.

Dominator – Steel Floorless Coaster
During Winter 2007, Cedar Fair moved this B&M floorless coaster from its Geauga Lake park to Kings Dominion. Dominator boasts the world’s largest loop, a smooth ride, and several other inversions. More on Dominator at Kings Dominion…>>>

Volcano: The Blast Coaster – Steel Inverted Launch Coaster – 8.5 (Great)
One of the best launch coasters around. 70 mph never felt so fast. Check out my complete review along with an on-ride video.

Defunct Roller Coasters:
Hypersonic XLC – Steel Launch Coaster – 6.0 (Slightly Above Average)
Don’t blink! Coasters don’t get much shorter than this. Luckily, the launch may make it worth your while. Check out my complete review along with an on-ride video.

King Kobra – Steel Shuttle Coaster – Removed in 1986

Kings Dominion Q.Q.M.
Quantity – 13
Quality – 5.9/10 (Above Average)
Mix – Strong

Get There Index – 3 out of 4
(Coaster Enthusiasts Must Go, Recommended for General Public)
Bottom line: Kings Dominion has Volcano, three other launch coasters, four wooden roller coasters, a bobsled coaster, a large water park, and a good variety of other attractions. The park has such a large and diverse collection that it’s a must visit for coaster enthusiasts. There are only a handful of parks in the World that could match Kings Dominion lineup in terms of variety, not necessarily quality. I also recommend Kings Dominion for the general public. Kids will find plenty to do in the two kid sections and even the non-adventurous will enjoy marveling at the modern thrill rides of the day.

See the rest of the G.T.I. & How I Rate Theme Parks. Got any questions or comments about Kings Dominion? Leave a comment below. Some images courtesy of CoasterImage.com