The highly anticipated Intimidator 305 opens to the public today at Kings Dominion (near Richmond, VA). At 305′ or about 30 stories tall, it is one of the tallest roller coasters in the U.S. and the World. Its little brother Intimidator at Carowinds opened last week. They both bear the nickname of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt and feature racing themes. Intimidator 305 seems to emphasize speed and banked turns where Intimidator is packed with airtime camel back-shaped hills. Intimidator 305 vs. Millennium Force It only took a few hours for the obvious comparisons to Millennium Force to start. Millennium Force is a landmark roller coaster at Cedar Fair’s sister park Cedar Point. It’s also a giga coaster (300+ feet tall), but the layout’s seem pretty different. World-traveling coaster enthusiast Robb Alvey of Theme Park Review gave Intimidator 305 his thumbs up and an added one-on-one victory over Millennium Force. He states it in his own words at about 2:44 in the video below which includes POV footage and an on-ride review. Note – This video was filmed by a professional with permission from the park. For safety reason, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster. Another nice video by Robb and I especially like that he reviewed it. It’s just one opinion though so, check out KDFansite and Theme Park Review for more reviews as Intimidator 305 opens and more people get to experience it. Also, KDFansite posted images from the media day here. After you ride it, feel free to rate it using my Rating System and leave a short review or comment below. [poll id=”2″] What’s Your Take? How do you think Intimidator 305 looks? Have you ridden it? Leave a comment below. 70 Responses « Older Comments Brian June 25, 2010 Mike (and anyone else who's willing to reading a lengthy post)- Sorry it took so long to get this posted. Actual work has been getting in the way of what I usually do at work: browsing around here. But better late than never I suppose, so as I promised, here is my review of the I-305. Being relatively new to the site, this is my first review attempt, so I'll do my best… I got to KD at around 9:30, and after enduring a painfully long and warbled rendition of the National Anthem, the gates opened at 10. Unfortunately, KD closes off everything but International Street until 10:30. Guess they want you to start spending money early. At 10:30 the gates opened to the rest of the park and a security guard led the group that had gathered with me down to the Intimidator 305. I am too out of shape to keep up with the speed-walking high school kids that were hot on our escort's heels, but I wasn't worried. I only had about a 10 minute wait, and that was only for one reason: FRONT ROW!! I sat on the left side, pulled the OTSR down, buckled in, and looked ahead, with a $#!+ eating grin, at the huge lift hill ahead. "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!!" rang out over the loudspeakers and the train shot up the lift hill. This lift hill made Millennium Force's feel like the Rebel Yell. So fast! The view is wild but you don't have much time to appreciate it because the cable yanks you over the top and into the drop. Initially you feel a bit of free fall, but then it's as if you're being suspended a little (trim brakes) and all you feel is the g's from the speed. The first turn is sick! You are slammed into your seat going around and the speed is intense. Then you shoot up the airtime hill where there is a good bit of ejector air on top. As the ride snakes around going through multiple overbanked s-curves and turns, you can only marvel at the speed and quickness of change in direction. A small hill toward the end offers a tiny bit of airtime, and then the ride's over. I was totally blown away after my first ride and would encourage anybody to get on this intense monster. The height and speed are incredible. The g's are outrageous. The few head choppers are even great. After this ride I would give the I-305 a 9. Now for my other rides.. I got to ride I-305 2 more times later in the day. (Longest wait time was only about 20 minutes btw.) Both times I happened to end up in the same seat. Row 2, right side. The experience from the second row and the right side was so different from my front row left side ride that I have to review it separately. The lift hill is WAY better on the right side because there is no rail or walkway next to you. Makes the ascent much scarier a.k.a. more fun! Plus the view is completely unobstructed, and since the rest of the park is to the right and behind the I-305 (when riding), it is much more interesting to look out over. Going down felt the same, but the first turn was where these rides really began to differ from front row. Both second row rides I greyed out on this turn. Halfway up the airtime hill my vision righted and I was ready to feel the ejector air… but it never came. Not an inch. When the s-curves came, the OTSRs played ping-pong with my head. My shoulders and upper arms got bruised a bit too from hitting the OTSRs but I guess that’s the price I pay for riding hands up. The high speed turns were still great and the speed was still awesome so the end of the ride was still excellent. However due to the discomfort and the lack of airtime, I would have to rate the second row ride at only a 7.5. All said and done, the ride was still amazing and definitely the most intense rides you’ll find east of Sandusky. But now to answer the burning question… Q: Are the trim brakes noticeable? A: Yes. Absolutely. I never experienced the I-305 without the trims, so this is a totally unbiased answer. Does it ruin the ride? Not by any means, but any coaster enthusiast will feel the brakes hit hard on the hill. You free fall for maybe a second or two but then it feels like you’re being reined in. The speed is still great, but the trims really take away from a coaster that could have been a 10 in my mind. Thus [finally] ends my I-305 diatribe. Thoughts? Reply Mike June 26, 2010 Great descriptions and great review. I think you are spot on with your observations. Hopefully you will get to ride it without the trims as it is a totally different ride. The 2nd hill has great ejector air and the first drop is much better. I don't know if you know but they just took the OTSR off and put on straps so I've heard there is no more head banging. So it seems this ride is a constant work in progress. Next year I think I'm going to get VIP passes there to ride that and then be able to go to Cedar Point and KI too Reply Brian June 26, 2010 Thanks for the praise Mike! No OTSR is awesome news. I hope to be down at KD again this fall so maybe by then they will have things really up to snuff. But its nice to see all the changes cause to me it really shows that they are striving to find the "sweet spot" so to speak on this monster and I hope they find it. It could get even better with age. Reply Prof. BAM July 6, 2010 I just watched an episode of Ace of Cakes on the Food Network channel, and the main cake in the episode was themed around I305 for the opening. On the cake there was a model of a coaster that was suppposed to represent I305. Poor Job. As we know, I305 was an Intamin giga-coaster, while the coaster on the cake was B&M style. I recognized the box-track, the four-across trains, and the "wings" over the wheels. Reply Quil July 9, 2010 I hate how everyone always dose that. But you have to think about it. How are they supposed to make a cake look like a piece of tubular track? P.S.- I love that show! Reply Nolan July 8, 2010 Well at least they tried to get a coaster close enough of on Ace Of Cakes for the cake. Anyway I rode I305 back in June like 10 times in one day and that is the one day I probably will ride I305 and I love it a lot better than Millennium Force. Even though they put trims on the hill I still blacked out 9 out of the 10 times, but after the first turn it turned out to be one wicked ride and I loved every part of it and it really does deserve a 10 on the scale, even though I would've loved to experience it without the first drop trims. Reply Brian July 9, 2010 I think it can't be a 10 because of the lack of airtime. And as much as I hate to admit it (because I would love to aver that a park near home had the best of the best) Millenium Force was better. More air, more freefall on the initial drop, better view. Don't get me wrong, the I-305 is great, but after I rode MF, I needed a "post-sex" cigarette. And I don't even smoke. Bear in mind that MF has 10 years on I-305. All I'm saying is it isn't a 10 yet. I still have faith that KD and Intamin can get it totally right. Reply mike July 26, 2010 I last month and rode it about 8 times in one day, front row, back row, and all about the middle of the train, and its a great ride. the airtime is minimal and all floater, i didn't experience any ejector airtime in any sections of the train ( which for me is a letdown) the twists were great but if you weren't expecting them they were painful, some people complained about neck pain, it turns very sharpy and quickly toward the end of the ride on these odd little twist flips ( idk what to call them ). Almost everyone on the ride myself included grayed/blacked out on the first turn. It is so intense to go into that sharp turn right after the drop, 5/8 times I rode I experienced some sort of grayout. it was actually worse the closer I was to the front. It was a fantastic ride though, although I think no contest Millenium force is hands down a better ride, 305 just isn't as fun, maybe its because it is so much shorter. But 305 is still an excellent ride. Reply Curtis July 31, 2010 I rode the Intimidator 305 twice yesterday and I thought it was great. However, Intamin should have stuck to the lap bar restraint system used on Superman: Ride of Steel and Millenium Force because it seems like it provides more airtime; I guess because the cars are more openly designed…just a thought. Reply Robert August 14, 2010 I finally got the chance to ride I305 during a little family vacation this week to Virginia and does it live up to the hype? In one word, mostly. Unfortunately I had the exact same feeling as when I rode Millennium Force, underwhelmed. While the twists were awesome and the restrains were very comfortable, there was almost NO airtime. I got 3 rides in the middle to back of the train each time and all I got was light floater. Even though the second hill is half the size of the first, we crawled over it. I would attribute this to the trims which are VERY noticeable. With such a fast lift, you'd expect to fly down the drop but you only experience free fall for a second before the trims kick in. The train speeds up again only when the drop starts to pull out. I wish I got to experience the ride towards the front to see if it was any different, but it's still a great ride. With more airtime, it would have crushed Millennium Force but with the trims, I'd have to say the two are equal. I give bonus points to the ride for getting stuck on the lift. While only for abut ten seconds, the view was fantastic and the screams on the train gave me a good laugh. Reply Mike August 17, 2010 We must have been on the same ride as you (Friday morning) when we got stuck on the lift. My daughter was one of those freaking out. I have to agree with you in that I was also underwhelmed (I also think MF is underwhelming as well… but I love Maverick). We live near Carowinds and I love the airtime on that ride, but I was so jealous about KD getting I305. After ridding I305 and getting no airtime, I know Carowinds got a much better ride. We rode both the back and the front and neither seat did much for me. As far a greying out, I felt nothing, even though I was mentally prepared for it. One last point is that I believe the trims must have killed this ride. I could just feel the train slowing down once we started down the first hill. Reply Robert August 20, 2010 Yes when we got stuck on the lift it was on Friday morning. What a small world. Anyways, I've never been to Carowinds but since my homepark is SFGAdv I've been on Nitro quite alot. It's my third favorite coaster after Bizarro at SFNE and El Toro and the airtime on it is great. Carowind's Intimidator looks like a great ride and I probably would have preferred that one also. I would have to agree with you with preferring Maverick to Millennium because although it's a small coaster it's pretty intense. The first turn on I305 was intense but not THAT intense like I was expecting, and like you said greying out was nonexistent. DC August 14, 2010 Finally got to ride this after being teased by TV commercials and all of the Internet hype. One word: INCREDIBLE! I've ridden hundreds of coasters over the past 54 years, but nothing ever was as intense as this one. Mf at Cedar Point and Superman at SFNE are still excellent rides but Intamin keeps the learning curve going. The aforementioned coasters are now tied for the second place slot and I still hold them in high regard. However, after waiting 30 minutes for my vigin (first) ride in the front seat (my rule), I was amply rewarded with the most intense endorphin and adrenaline rush of my life. Smooth but forceful with enough wicked turns to satisfy even the most hardcore of us, I was more than satified. Even though extremely aggressive and fast, Intimidator's transitions were almost creamy. Subsequent rerides in the back seat left me unbruised and exhilarated, not tired and battered. I'm proud now to have a new distinct, undisputed #1 coaster. And its only 2 short hours away. Kudos Intamin and Kings Dominion for another great addition to your park. Reply DC August 14, 2010 Sorry about all of the typos. Reply CP Junkie August 17, 2010 I rode I305 over the weekend for the first time. I was actually really surprised that a ride of that caliber was placed at Kings Dominion in Virginia, but then I remembered the park was owned by Cedar Fairs. They had to go big, because that's what they do best. We got to the park around 3:30 in the afternoon and decided to leave I305 for the last ride of the night. We figured it be a shorter wait and let's be honest, all roller coasters are better at night. Once it was about 9:15, we headed to the ride all amped up on Vault. I first noticed that the entire ride's line was filled and spilling out into the ride's entrance. GREAT. We got into line and once we were up to the entrance I asked the Kings Dominion worker how long the wait was and replied with a stern, "30 minutes." Confused, I asked, "You mean a hour and 30 minutes?" "Nope. 30 minutes. It loads 32 at a time very quickly." That made me all giddy and was the first positive part about the ride. They show Dale Earnhardt races on big TV's in the middle of the lines. I tried hard to watch them and get excited about NASCAR, but it was an epic fail. Which leads me to the theme of the ride: Dale Earnhardt. I respect what he did for the sport and it's tragic how he died. Although, I'm not sure why Cedar Fairs thought it was a great idea to name the biggest and baddest Giga Coaster on the planet after a NASCAR driver. Oh well, I'm sure there are millions of NASCAR fans who would disagree. Sorry for the quick rant. Anyways, we got up to the loading bay after about 25 minutes of waiting. We selected the very back car (there was four of us) and me and my brother could not stop trembling with excitement. I mean, this is supposed to be the coaster that rivals my favorite roller coaster, the Millennium Force. Once our train arrived and we hopped in, I was disappointed in the harnesses. Over the top restraints seemed a bit over the top (cue comedy drum piece). Millennium Force used just a pull down bar that provided full upper body movement while being very comfortable and safe. Although I have to admit, the trains do look pretty sweet. Finally when we were all locked in, they cued the "Gentlemen, start your engines!" and we were off. And by off, I mean launched up the lift hill. Took about 10 seconds in my opinion to get up and crest the hill. Then the next minute seemed like a blur. High speed turns, "twisties" galore, airtime hills (first was "grrrrreeeeat!" as Tony the Tiger would say), and S-curves all included in this wonderful, fast, intense… surprisingly short ride. Yes, I said SHORT. Which is in my opinion, the biggest downfall of the ride. Soon after the first drop, you seem to be back at the loading bay wondering if you flew over half the track and luckily (used loosely) landed at the end of the track. Now, don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the ride. Especially the first drop and high-speed curve. I just wish it would have been longer. At least as long as Millennium Force is. It has more intense features of it's ride than MF, but the actual ride time really hurts it's overall rating. So, with all that said… Millennium Force > Intimidator 305. It still get's a 9/10 from me. But MF gets the 9.5! – CP Junkie Scuba September 4, 2010 I rode it for the first time yesterday…and I was not prepared. I had taken about a dozen coaster rides at the park before hand, and was ready to try the best. Actually, it turns out I wasn't. The G forces on the hard right turn after the first hill caused me to gray out. My vision faded for several seconds…and if it lasted much longer, I may have completely blacked out. In all my years of coaster riding, I have never experienced anything like this. Frankly, it wasn't pleasant. I got off the ride and walked away feeling rather unsettled. I was pretty much ready to go home at this point, but since we had brought kids, I toughed it out…and ended up riding more than a dozen more coasters…but not this one. Never again. If it has trim on it, it needs to stay. $0.02 Reply john wall October 19, 2010 this ride is amazing Reply Cinda Ayres October 22, 2010 Sure is fun BUT there is a shoulder restraint so this guy's comparison to MF is silly there is no comparison and well the length is about half MF Reply L.J. June 1, 2011 I went on this ride it it STUNNING! 🙂 Its actually my favorite roller coaster so far (I havent been to Cedar Point yet) its so much fun that raw speed and the turns they are so fun. 🙂 I give it like a 9.2. I'd give it a ten if there were more hill ejector airtime occasionsor more curves lol. Volcano is my second favorite roller coaster of all time that launch is just so much fun. I gave it like a 9.0 or 9.1. It would have surpassed I305 if only it had been LONGER! 🙂 Reply tube launch May 5, 2013 Thank you for the good writeup. It actually was once a amusement account it. Glance advanced to far brought agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate? 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